Ear infections: How to relieve the pain

If you're a parent, you know that ear infections are a serious pain, especially for kids who are susceptible...

If you're a parent, you know that ear infections are a serious pain, especially for kids who are susceptible to ear pain. While grownups are less likely to suffer from an ear infection, it doesn't mean they're immune. Make an appointment with your Atlanta-based doc for antibiotics. Until then, it's up to you to help calm the pain and deal with the infection until it's treated. Here's how.

Ibuprofen. A standard, over-the-counter pain medication can help you deal with your ear infection. Not only does it help to relieve the pain, but it'll help take down some of the pressure and swelling of the ear canal. Just make sure you take the painkillers according to package instructions and check to make sure they won't interfere with any of the meds you currently take.

Compress. When your ear is throbbing, an old-fashioned compress can help you feel better and it can be used on children and adults alike. Just grab a clean washcloth and run it under warm (not hot) water. Squeeze out the excess and then lay on a couch or bed with the washcloth folded over the affected ear. The warm, moist air that enters your ear can help temporarily deal with pain.

Ear drops. Check with your family doctor. If he gives the OK, it's fine to put some pain-relieving drops into your ear canal. Look for drops labeled as antipyrine-benzocaine, which have a numbing agent. You'll be more comfortable if you rub the bottle between your hands to warm the liquid inside before dropping one or two into the affected ear. It should be enough relief to get you through the day and until you're able to see your doc.

If you don't have a family doctor, an Atlanta-based general practitioner can help take care of minor issues like ear infections.

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