This week, I’ve had an ear infection. I’m still having it, but I am learning to live with it. I hope that some day soon it will just go away, but until that point I still need to be able to eat, rest and do some work, so here’s how I’m coping. Here is how to ease an ear infection.
Drugs: Cure with Amoxicillin
Up to 60% of ear infections don’t actually need antibiotics in order to be cured. Antibiotics will only cure bacterial infections and not viral, but I’ve had ear infections before and I haven’t just had a cold recently, therefore I know it wasn’t caused by that, so as soon as I thought I had an ear infection coming on, I headed down to the GP and was prescribed amoxicillin, which I’ve had every time I’ve had an ear infection. I was also lucky to get a pharmacy coupon on that. It takes 48-72 hours to start to take effect though, so I knew I was going to get worst before I got better. I needed a plan for easing the pain…
You’re going to want some pain relief. The GP recommended co-codamol, luckily I had some of that lying around, but not everyone gets on with that, so I would advise paracetamol and/or ibuprofen. Paracetamol will reduce your temperature as well as relieving pain and ibuprofen with reduce swelling, which may help your ear to drain. I took 2x200g of ibuprofen with 2x500g of paracetamol together. I have no idea if this is OK, I’m not a doctor, but it was within the guidelines on each box, it helped ease the pain and I’m not dead. As the infection became worse, I noticed that the pain killers would wear off quicker. At this point I disregarded the frequency of the dosing (up to 8 of each tablet in 24 hours) and was probably hitting up nearer 10-12 of each. However, I am a relatively healthy 29 year old so I think I’m OK to play with the dosing a little. Plus, I’m an adult, so I made this decision myself. Please be responsible with your drug ingestion. Again, I am not a doctor, I can’t guarantee the effect any medication will have on your body, nor can I be held responsible for it.
Get yourself a hot water bottle. This hot water bottle is your friend. You’re going to be getting very close to this hot water bottle for the duration of your illness. Just put it on or around your ear, lie on it, lie it on you, whatever, it will help with the pain. Apparently heat also increases blood flow which can clear the infection quicker. I just applied heat because it felt so damn good. Don’t remove the cover though, you will burn your ear and maybe face and this is not attractive.
You might not really feel like eating much right now, but you need to keep your energy up to help fight off the infection, plus chewing can help loosen the liquid in your ear. I ate hot foods like soup and stewed apple, but also sucked sweets to try and loosen the ear liquid and chewed gum to also dislodge the liquid.
I wouldn’t advise putting food stuff in your ear
I’ve read a lot of articles about putting oil, cinnamon, garlic, onions and other ingredients in your ear to soothe the pain of an ear infection. I wasn’t keen on this kind of activity. It sounded more like some kind of YouTube challenge than a cure for my affliction. However, I did put some TCP on a cotton pad and rest it over the top of the infected ear. This did seem to help, though it was a little cold, which did not help.
Lymph Node Milking
People tell me all the time that they don’t get Twitter. Well, I do, so I fired up my Hootsuite and searched for ‘ear infection.’ I’m sure this seems odd to most, but I had no issue with tweeting the other people that were also proactively (i.e. tweeting about) suffering from an ear infection. Some people ignored the camaraderie and empathy I was offering, but some returned it and some gave me useful, useable, valuable tips. Enter @BenAllenKOSU of Stillwater, Oklahoma! He recommended lymph node milking thanks to @KateSpencer1. Didn’t sound to pleasant to me, but I was getting desperate. Turns out that it’s the gentle massaging of the neck, ears and head area to coax the ear liquid away from the ear and to the lymph nodes where it is then drained away by the body. I found this video on it on YouTube and Heather (lady in the video), explains it all much better than I could.
Here’s where it all gets a bit weird, if you weren’t already turned off by the milking. Moaning about my ear infection on Twitter, I was contacted by a company called Ear Doctor. Basically, this is just a wand that you stick behind you ear and it vibrates away the liquid, which is causing pressure. It’s available on Amazon and eBay apparently, but I didn’t look and I couldn’t really wait 5-7 days for delivery. So I got creative. You could use the back of an electric tooth brush or anything else which vibrates, as long as it’s clean. This will ease pressure temporarily and it feels pretty nice too, just don’t get carried away, as I’m not sure how healthy it is.
Seek Medical Attention
If your symptoms aren’t clearing, go back to your GP. I did and discovered I was only given half the recommended dose. I was then given drops and stronger drugs. In the UK we pay for health care through the NHS and in America it’s through insurance, so you do have the right to demand you’re treated properly.
Here is a list of things I think you should try and avoid whilst infirm:
- Caffeine – you’re going to find it hard enough to sleep without this stimulant in your body.
- Smoking – never, ever good when ill and it will not aid blood circulation and therefore will inhibit recovery.
- Earphones – these will hurt and keep your ear warm and moist, which bacteria loves. You need to let your ear breathe. You might want to disinfect all ear buds post infection too, to stop re-occurrence.
- Alcohol – it doesn’t seem to advise against this in the antibiotics leaflet, but give yourself a break. Stay off the liquor for a few days and your body should recover quicker. Update: I’ve been told by a nurse friend that alcohol won’t make you worse, but will impact the effectiveness of any anti-biotics you’re taking,
- Getting water in your ear – it’s tough when showering, but water in your ear provides more a of medium for bacteria to grow.
I’m not going to lie to you. Even with everything above, you’re going to find it hard to sleep. It’s been Comedy Week on YouTube this week, which has really kept me going. I’d recommend the following channels. But it’s YouTube, there’ll be something on there that’ll take you mind off the throbbing pain in your ear: It’s Grace (formerly Daily Grace) Epic Meal Time College Humour Sorted Food Bad Teeth If all else fails, I turn to cat videos! Trashy mags, books for your Kindle and on Demand TV / Netflix will all get you through and if you’re anything like me, avoid talking to people as you’ll only moan to them about your ear infection or be generally grumpy. So, there you have it. That is how to soothe an ear infection to make it a little more bearable. Below I have written a list of items you might want to pick up to get you through the duration of your suffering. Good luck and get well soon. List of things
- Prescription drugs
- Hot water bottle
- Squash (you need a lot of liquid, add some flavour to make it more exciting. This will seem exciting after 3 days of being bed ridden)
- Old towel for seeping ear
- Chewing gum
- Apples for stewing
- Potatoes for mashing
- Sweets for sucking
- Something that vibrates
- Trashy magazines
- Orange juice (vitamin C to fight off that scurvy)
- Decaf tea / fruit tea / hot chocolate (maybe some marshmallows too)
Any other hints and tips, leave them below.
UPDATE: I’ve now made a video in case you’d rather watch than read.