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What are the Most Effective Ear Infection Cures?

By Debi Fields
Updated May 17, 2024
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Most ear infections occur within the middle ear in children, toddlers and infants. High levels of pain usually are present, along with a fever. Most parents immediately seek medical advice from a physician regarding ear infection cures. Ear infection cures can be approached in a variety of ways, including the use of prescription medications such as antibiotics or the use of home remedies such as hydrogen peroxide. A health care professional always should be consulted prior to implementing ear infection cures.

Ear infection treatment usually focuses first on the relief of pain. Standard ear infection cures rely on readily available over-the-counter pain relievers. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory products such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are recommended for children more than 2 years old. Aspirin is not recommended for anyone younger than 20 years old, because of the risk of Reye's syndrome. Applying heat to the ear in the form of a warm washcloth or the careful use of a heating pad might provide pain relief quickly and easily.

Antibiotics usually still are the first choice of ear infection cures by parents. In the late 1980s, physicians became more and more reluctant to routinely treat all ear infections with prescription medications. Studies began to show that unless an ear infection appeared severe, accompanied by drainage, nausea, vomiting or dangerously high fevers, the ear infection often would clear up on its own. The overuse of antibiotics for minor illnesses has led to super-strains of resistant bacteria that now require much stronger antibiotics than used previously. For this reason, physicians still need to determine the extent of the infection and assess the child for complications.

Ear drops also are used for ear infection cures and treatment. A solution of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide has been used as a home remedy for ear infection cures since at least the 1950s. Five to eight drops in the infected ear two or three times per day often clears up a minor ear infection. Most people who have used this simple home ear infection cure also report a significant level of pain relief as well. There also are a number of over-the-counter products available.

In some instances of severe and/or recurring ear infections in children, the placement of tubes in the ear could be required. This is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia by an otolaryngologist in a hospital setting. Spool-shaped plastic tubes are placed in a small surgical opening in the eardrum, which allows the drainage of fluid buildup and eases the pain and pressure placed on the eardrum. Children often are able to return to normal activities the day after the procedure, free of pain. Tubes usually remain in place for about six months, usually falling out on their own before 12 months have passed.

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