Sometimes, the only treatment for an ear infection is to just live with it until it clears out on its own. This is especially true for ear infections caused by viruses. If you or your child is only mildly sick and the right home care reduces the pain and symptoms, then you can choose not to consult a doctor for the ear infection.
Living with an ear infection is not easy even for a few days because of its intense ear pain. Here are a few tips that you can try at home to help your child to live well with an ear infection until it resolves completely:
1. Warm compression and over-the-counter pain medication
Applying heat to the affected ear by soaking a small towel in a bowl of hot water will help reduce the pain. If this does not work, you can take some over-the-counter pain killers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen for pain relief. Take the drugs as it is instructed on the bottle. Give some pain killers to your child before they go to bed to let them have a good night’s sleep.
However, avoid giving aspirin to children and teenagers because of its link to Reye's syndrome, which is a serious illness.
2. Rest well
Have an adequate amount of rest to help your body boost its immune function to fight off the infection well. If your child is having an ear infection, make sure that he/she gets enough sleep. Do not send them off to school; give them time to rest as well as to avoid the spread of infection to other children at school.
3. Regularly assess your child’s hearing
Ear infections sometimes lead to nasty complications such as hearing loss. If your child has been getting repeated ear infections, make sure that you take your child to a doctor to assess his/her hearing. Speaking louder than usual, being unable to understand what you say or not responding to you when you speak softly may be some of the early signs that your child’s hearing is affected.
4. Encourage your child to drink plenty of clear fluids
Drinking a lot of water is an important way to get rid of the ear infection very fast. They flush out all the toxins and germs in your body.
5. Continue to breastfeed your baby
Do not stop breastfeeding your baby even if your baby has an ear infection. Breast milk provides a wide variety of antibodies that will help your baby to get rid of the ear infection very rapidly. During the first 6 months of life, your baby should be exclusively breastfed as breast milk is more than enough for the baby and provides all the protection that your baby needs.
If your child does not show any signs of improvement even after a few days, consult your doctor as this could be a bacterial infection, and your child may require antibiotics to cure the infection.