Are you looking for home remedies for ear and throat pain?
This post will cover over-the-counter pain medications and other remedies to combat these common conditions.
If you have a high fever or severe pain that does not resolve, please go to your local urgent care center or seek medical treatment. Ear and throat pain can be caused by a bacterial infection which may require antibiotic treatment.
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Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is an infection of the outer opening of the ear and ear canal caused by bacteria or fungi. Otitis externa is a common cause of ear pain. Risk factors for this type of infection include:
- Using Q-tips or other foreign objects in the ear.
- Use of hearing aids or earbuds.
- Irritation or scratches in the ear.
Some Symptoms of Otitis Externa Include:
- Pain and discharge from the affected ear. Discharge may initially be clear and may change to pus.
- Redness of ear.
- Swelling of lymph nodes.
- Some hearing loss.
Otitis Media (Inner Ear Inflammation)
Acute Otitis Media (AOM) is an ear infection occurring in the middle ear (behind the ear drum). This infection is common in young children but can also occur in adults. The most likely cause of AOM is the dysfunction or obstruction of the eustachian tubes. The infection can be caused by viruses or bacterial and, at times both.1
Chronic ear infections may be caused by an abnormality of the mucous membranes that line part of the inner ear. These membranes help form a barrier to infection.
Otitis media is usually treated with an antibiotic such as Augmentin (amoxicillin and clavulanate). A cephalosporin, doxycycline, azithromycin, or clarithromycin may be used in patients with a penicillin allergy.
Symptoms of AOM
- Ear pain (mild, moderate, or severe)
- Muffled hearing
Treatment of Ear Infections
As with most conditions, the best treatment for ear infections is prevention. First, try to keep the ears clean and dry. Refrain from scratching the inside of the ear and remove excess wax buildup with Debrox (Carbamide Peroxide 6.5%). Always follow the directions on the box.
If using ear drops, always follow directions. A cotton ball can be placed in the ear after instilling the medicine to help keep it in the ear.
Treatment of Ear Pain
For ear pain, utilize OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen and Ibuprofen. If you prefer natural remedies, turmeric with ginger is a great choice. The heat from a warm washcloth (warm compresses) or a heating pad can also help with the pain.
Some have suggested placing a few drops of olive oil into the ear. This can soften the earwax making it easier to remove. Olive oil may also possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
When to Seek Medical Advice
Inner ear infections often require antibiotics. It is essential to treat these infections because Otitis media can lead to facial paralysis, meningitis, and hearing loss. If you believe you have an inner ear infection or the treatments above are ineffective, seek medical care.
We have all suffered from a sore throat during our lifetime. Sore throats can be caused by:
· Bacterial infections
· Viral infections
· Exposure to toxic chemicals or smoke
What are some good treatments for a sore throat?
The best treatment I have found for a sore throat is to coat the throat with hard candy, throat lozenges, or cough drops. Then, add an OTC pain reliever. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used for pain. Turmeric can also be used with ear pain if you prefer natural products.
Other home remedies may help with a sore throat.
Gargling with salt water
Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt with 8 ounces of warm water and gargle. This can help relieve pain, clear mucous, and kill bacteria. Just gargle with the solution and spit it out. Do not swallow the salt water.
Popsicles can coat your throat and provide a cold sensation that can help deaden the pain.
Even with a sore throat, brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing each day is important. Also, limit what you eat to soft, bland foods to prevent irritating the throat.
Strep throat is caused by bacteria and often starts with the rapid onset of a sore throat with pain during swallowing. There may also be a fever and swollen lymph nodes.
If you have problems breathing, become dehydrated, cough up blood or have difficulty swallowing, you should seek medical care.
Some variants of COVID-19 have a severe sore throat as a symptom. I recently had the Omicron variant, producing one of the worst sore throats I have experienced. Omicron is known to cause sore throat and headache. As a reminder, if you end up with COVID, my supplement suggestions are:
- Vitamin D3/K2 – 5000 units/day
- Vitamin C – 1000 mg/day
- Zinc 50mg/day
- Quercetin to help the zinc penetrate cells
Ear and throat pain are common problems. As with any sickness, I believe prevention is key. Be sure to take care of your body. Our immune system can be improved by eating whole foods, drinking plenty of water, exercising, and getting adequate sleep. Probiotics can also help.
Over-the-counter products such as acetaminophen and Ibuprofen can be used for both ear and throat pain. Turmeric can also help with pain and inflammation.
Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP
Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.
Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.
- Pettigrew MM, Gent JF, Pyles RB, Miller AL, Nokso-Koivisto J, Chonmaitree T. Viral-bacterial interactions and risk of acute otitis media complicating upper respiratory tract infection. J Clin Microbiol. 2011 Nov;49(11):3750-5. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01186-11. Epub 2011 Sep 7. PMID: 21900518; PMCID: PMC3209086.