ZocdocAnswersIs there a home treatment I can try to get rid of an ear infection?

Question

Is there a home treatment I can try to get rid of an ear infection?

I had a cold and developed a pain in the right side of my throat that spread to my right ear. It hurts mostly when I swallow and I get a mild shooting pain.

Answer

It sounds like you probably have an upper respiratory tract infection with a virus which has caused some pain and swelling in your throat. The pain in your ear is a common effect of this. This is because the inner ear is a closed chamber that is drained by a tube called the eustachian tube. This tube gets closed off when the upper respiratory passages get swollen. When the fluid within the ear can't drain, pressure builds up and causes pain. The only treatment that can be done at home is an over the counter decongestant which can help reduce the upper airway swelling. Sometimes the fluid inside the ear can grow bacteria and then we call it an ear infection. Most ear infections can go away on their own once the eustachian tube opens up. Other infections require a short course of antibiotics. Other possible causes of your sore throat include bacterial infections such as strep throat. There is no home treatment that is adequate to treat strep throat. I think your next best move is to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine your throat and make sure that it is not strep throat or a peritonsillar abscess. From there, the doctor can examine your ears and determine if the right ear is infected. If it is, then you may benefit from a short course of an antibiotic. Good luck.

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