If you have a
ruptured eardrum, you will likely need to see your doctor to treat the infection or injury that caused the rupture. A ruptured eardrum usually drains suddenly and leaks fluid that can look like pus, smell bad, or even be bloody.
If you do not have a ruptured eardrum, you may be able to relieve your ear
Gently rinse the ear using a bulb syringe and
warm saline solution or a half-and-half solution of white vinegar and warm
water. Make sure the flushing solution is body temperature. Inserting cool or
hot fluids in the ear may cause dizziness.
If your ear is itchy, try nonprescription swimmer's
eardrops, such as Star-Otic or Swim-Ear. Use them before and after swimming or
getting your ears wet.
To ease ear
pain, apply a warm washcloth or a heating pad set on low. There may be some
drainage when the heat melts earwax. For more information about earwax removal,
see the topic
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
Do not use ear candles. They
have no proven benefit in the removal of earwax or other objects in the ear and
can cause serious injury.
To insert eardrops
First, warm the drops to body temperature by
rolling the container in your hands or placing it in a cup of warm water for a
few minutes. Inserting cold eardrops can cause pain and dizziness. See a
picture showing how to insert eardrops safely.
person lie down, ear facing up.
Place 2 or 3 drops on the wall of
the ear canal so air can escape and drops can get into the ear. Gently wiggling
the outer ear will help.
You may find it easier to insert eardrops
in a small child's ear by holding the child on your lap with his or her legs
around your waist and head down on your knees. If possible, remain in this
position for 2 to 3 minutes.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your fever or pain:
Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drug), such as Bayer or Bufferin
Talk to your child’s doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Be sure to follow these
safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
Carefully read and follow all directions
on the medicine bottle and box.