An earache can be a painful condition that can make it difficult to focus on everyday tasks. While it is important to see a doctor in the event of a severe earache in order to rule out any serious medical conditions, there are many natural remedies for an earache that may be helpful in reducing symptoms such as pain and inflammation. Choosing the best natural remedies for an earache depends on the type of pain, the reason for the earache, and the personal preferences of the individual. Some of the more popular natural remedies for an earache include shielding the affected ear from the effects of the elements, the use of herbal treatments such as onions or garlic, and lifestyle or dietary modifications.
Mild lifestyle modifications are usually the first line of natural remedies for an earache. The first step is to avoid further irritation or injury by not placing any objects, such as cotton swabs, in the ear. In some cases, it may help to carefully block the ear canal with a small cotton ball so that air or environmental pollutants cannot enter the ear. Other changes such as quitting smoking or elevating the head of the bed may also provide symptom relief. Blowing the nose too forcefully may increase symptoms, so the nose should be blown gently, one nostril at a time.
The use of garlic or onions is among the most popular natural remedies for an earache. Garlic oil can be warmed, and a few drops can be placed directly into the affected ear to reduce inflammation and help destroy any harmful bacteria. A cooked onion can be placed directly on the affected ear for a few minutes at a time to provide immediate pain relief. Both the garlic oil and the onion should be warm, but they should not be hot enough to burn the skin. A heating pad can be used in much the same way if garlic oil or onions are not readily available.
A few small dietary changes can be highly effective natural remedies for an earache. Vitamin C is widely believed to increase the body's natural immune response to illness and infection. Vitamin C supplements can be purchased at most drug stores and do not require a prescription. Alternately, orange juice or other food items containing vitamin C can be added to the diet. Dairy products may actually worsen the symptoms of an earache and should be avoided until the earache has gone away.