Ear infection, otherwise known as an earache, is a common problem that usually occurs when the ear is exposed to extreme cold or heat. Ear infections often may occur after swimming as well, and thus are often referred to as “swimmer’s ear.”
However, other instances of earaches may result because of some kind of airborne irritant or allergen. This problem sometimes also results after listening to loud music, although music usually hits the nerves that cause hearing loss versus onslaught of infections.
Ear Infection Symptoms
An ear infection could be described as a all-around discomfort in or around the ear. Sometimes it could be characterized by itching on the outer ear or stuffiness in the inner ear. Pus draining or decrease hearing are other symptoms of earaches.
Dealing with an ear infection can be done using one or more of the methods below:
- Keep your ears clean. Sometimes hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean out the drainage from your ear. This applied via spray bottle is ideal so that it drips right out after you use it to rinse out your ear canal. Cotton swabs moistened with water can help clean out the middle and outer ears (the lobes and areas outside canal).
- Apply a heating pad to the infected area. This works great in the event your inner ear may be clogged with wax or debris. This helps melt the wax and it encourages improved blood flow within your ears so they can become more relaxed and as a result you feel less pain
- Seek prescribed medication from a doctor. When in doubt, if your ear is in pain for longer than a few hours you may want to seek medication from a doctor as soon as possible. This would also be a great time to be examined in case of a more severe hearing problem. Oftentimes an anti-biotic is administered to a person with an ear infection.
- Use a pain killer (in moderation, taken as directed). A small dose of aspirin, ibuprofen, or prescription pain killer can do wonders. However, be careful not to get addicted and only use these as directed on the label and/or by the doctor or pharmacist.
- Protect your ears. Cover them with the appropriate attire when swimming or when venturing out on a cold and windy day, or when listening to loud music. You should also refrain from diving, swimming, scuba lessons, or other water activities at least temporarily (until infection passes). Ear plugs are great for this purpose as long as you do not insert them too far into the ear.
If you want to prevent ear infections, make sure you keep the inside of your ears as dry as possible. If you are ever swimming you should tilt your head to the side to empty any water that may be in them.
Furthermore, cleansing your inner ear with water or hydrogen peroxide periodically is what would most keep them from becoming clogged. If you have any questions about cleaning your ears safely (especially when using cotton swabs in the inner ear) consult a doctor.