Earache Treatment: What Not to Do

Not all earache treatment you'll hear about is safe or reliable. While some earache treatments have been proven over time, other cures recommended online are more harmful than helpful. The following earache remedies are not reliable or can actually hurt you.

Do Not Fish Around in Your Ear
Yes, your ear hurts.Yes, it's tempting to stick a Q-tip in there to try to suck up extra liquid or see if there is anything that needs to be dislodged, but you really don't want to put anything in your ear other than a liquid. If you have an inner ear infection, you may rupture your eardrum with the Q-tip, causing permanent hearing damage. If you have swimmer's ear, you may irritate the infected skin of your outer ear canal even further, causing more pain and longer recovery time.

If you think you have swimmer's ear and need to dry out the ear canal, drop a couple drops of rubbing alcohol inside; the ear canal will dry right up. If you think you have a troublesome build up of earwax, irrigate the ear canal with rubbing alcohol using a gentle stream of alcohol-based solution. If you can't dislodge the troublesome object or earwax on your own, see a doctor. The doctor will irrigate with a powerful but safe stream of a solution.

Do Not Rush to the Doctor's Office for Antibiotics
Most middle ear infections will resolve themselves if you manage the congestion, encourage the Eustachian tubes to drain naturally and get plenty of rest. Taking unnecessary antibiotics can build up an unhealthy tolerance or resistance to these drugs which you may need later in life for a serious infection.

Do Not Rupture the Ear Drum on Purpose
The pain may be so severe in your ear that you think rupturing the eardrum is a good idea, but it truly is not.  Serious, irreversible damage to your hearing may occur if you rupture your eardrum. If the pain is severe and is not relieved by any of the home remedies available, see your doctor. The doctor may insert tubes in your eardrums to facilitate draining, but this is carefully done in such a way as to preserve your hearing.

Do Not Fly
If you suspect you have a middle ear infection, you should not fly because of the risk of rupturing an eardrum. See your doctor to make sure you are not risking permanent damage before getting on that plane.

Do Not Submerge Your Head in Water
It's best to shower carefully such that you do not get water in your ears and avoid swimming until your earache clears up. If you do get water in your ears, use a solution of alcohol and water to dry up your ear canal.

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