What You Can Do if You Have an Ear Infection

Ear infections can be very painful. They can accompany another illness such as a cold or the flu, or they may just come on their own. Ear infections occur when drainage finds its way into the ear canal and stays there. The infection can range from minor to very painful, and they can occur in the young and the old alike. If you have an ear infection, there are things you can do. Here are four steps to take for recovery. 

1. Get a Checkup

If you suspect you or your loved one has an ear infection, get them to their physician or to urgent care for a thorough exam and for treatment. The physician will look in your ear and look for redness and discharge. They will also feel your tonsils and neck area to see if you have swollen glands. If you have an infection, the physician will prescribe an antibiotic to help heal the infection. This can take a few days to clear up, in the meantime, there are other things you can do that can help you heal and alleviate pain associated with the infection.

2. Use an Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever

An over-the-counter pain reliever can help alleviate pain associated with the infection. It can help with headaches and other pain you may be feeling. For young children and infants, talk to your physician about what type of medication can be used. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how much should be given depending on the age of the person.

3. Sleep Elevated

With drainage going into the ear canal, sleeping flat will cause more drainage in the ear. Sleeping elevated with extra pillows or with the mattress lifted on one end can help with this. For younger children, elevating the mattress may work better, but for anyone older, sleeping with extra pillows can help allow the fluids to drain properly.

4. Use a Warm Rice Sock

A sock filled with rice and warmed up on the stove can help alleviate pain associated with an ear infection. Fill a sock with rice and place it in the center of a pan to heat it thoroughly. You are just warming the rice—not cooking it. Next, check to see that it is just warm and place it on the ear. The warmth from the rice can help alleviate the pain.

If you have an ear infection, contact services like West Ocean City Injury & Illness Center.