Earaches and ear infections are not the same, but they both have the same often debilitating symptoms. Earaches are often caused by changes in air pressure (like when flying or when traveling long distances, especially to higher elevations) or other irritating disturbances that disrupt the balance within the ear. Water often causes earaches or “swimmer’s rash” (which is usually a low-impact infection) and earaches can easily be caused by loud decibel (noise) levels as well.
Ear infections, on the other hand, are usually more painful, typically because an ear infection is usually accompanied or caused by other illness, such as a sinus infection. Since the nasal cavities are connected to the ear canal, it is very common to receive an ear infection when you get a cold, sinus infection, or have swollen lymph nodes. You can also get an ear infection by trapping bacteria in your ear, via sticking your finger in your ear, your car keys (some people do this, don’t know why), or a dirty cotton swab.
However your symptoms come to you, or how severe they are, you can battle an earache and ear infection quickly at home without a visit to the ER.
To relieve pain in the ear, try garlic. It works as a natural anti-inflammatory and is antibacterial as well. People swear by fresh garlic oil (squeezed out of a clove of garlic with a garlic press) mixed with equal parts sweet oil at a warm temperature, a few drops in each ear. Place a few drops of the solution into the ears one ear at a time with the head tilted to the side (lying down, preferably) and cover the ear opening with a cotton swab to trap in the oils. The intense pain of the earache/infection and pressure should disappear almost immediately (within moments, even seconds) and the solution helps to kill the bacteria and relieve the pressure causing the pain.
Vodka poured directly in the ear or hydrogen peroxide will work to kill bacteria and germs in acute (very bad) ear infections. Once again, apply with an eye dropper a few drops in each ear and hold solution in place with cotton. Do any of the aforementioned treatments 2 or three times a day (morning and night, also noon for acute pain) until symptoms subside.
Baby oil works wonders in that it kills the bacteria and also relieves pain. Warm the solution to ease and soothe inside the ear and apply a few drops and then use cotton balls again to keep it from leaking out. A perfect solution for getting to sleep at night with achy ears! Even better, add a few drops of pressed garlic for instant AHH relief from your ear pains and aches.
Try vinegar in the ear as well. Another great anti-inflammatory and highly acidic anti-bacterial works dually to relieve pain instantly and kill bacteria at once. Apply like all the other solutions, up to 3 times a day, typically for 4 days.
Here’s a further infection battling tip- do not heat any solution too hot. This will irritate the ear canal and actually encourage the infection to multiply. Keep the major heat to outside of the ear for relief with a heating pad instead.
While it is great to be able to treat ear aches and infections at home, if you are in intense pain, are dizzy, nauseous, cannot focus or see straight, have accompanying fever, or very swollen lymph nodes, or you are just plain majorly uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to call your Doc to rule out any major illnesses. While natural remedies DO work, if you feel you need more medical interference, by all means, get help. But if you just want relief from your ear pain now, try any of these remedies to instantly feel better.