Ear Problems and Injuries, Age 12 and Older
Home treatment may be all that is needed to relieve minor or intermittent ear discomfort.
- To ease ear pain, apply a warm washcloth or a
heating pad set on low. There may be some drainage from
the ear when the heat melts
Reference earwax Opens New Window.
- Do not use a heating pad when you are in bed. You may fall asleep and burn yourself.
- Do not use a heating pad on a child.
- Try an Reference ice or cold pack to reduce swelling from a minor injury or sunburn. Apply for 15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day during the first 48 hours after the injury. The sooner you apply a cold pack, the less swelling you are likely to have. Place a cloth between the ice and your skin.
- Oral or nasal Reference decongestants may relieve ear pain, especially if the pain is related to fluid behind the eardrum (Reference otitis media with effusion Opens New Window). Avoid products that contain antihistamines, which tend to cause more blockage, unless allergies seem to be the problem.
- Chewing gum may help relieve pressure changes in the ear, such as when flying in an airplane.
- Try a nonprescription earwax remover if your ear feels plugged but you do not have obvious Reference signs of infection. Be sure to follow the label directions carefully.
- Do not use ear candles. They have no proven benefit in the removal of earwax or the treatment of other ear problems, and they can cause serious injury.
|Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:|
|Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:|
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Reference Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
- Pain develops or increases.
- Fever or other Reference signs of ear infection develop.
- New or different drainage from the ear develops.
- Other symptoms develop, such as hearing loss or Reference vertigo Opens New Window.
- Your symptoms become more severe or frequent.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference January 12, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine