A common cold occurs when a virus infects the nasal or throat cavity, resulting in symptoms such as congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and cough. As the cold progresses, it can cause additional discomforts, such as mild body aches, headaches, and fever. And one often overlooked consequence of a common cold is the potential for ear pain, characterised by a dull ache. The severity of this earache can vary depending on the intensity of the infection, and in most cases, young children are affected. This article explores effective home remedies to alleviate ear pain due to colds, providing relief and promoting a faster recovery in children and adults.
Causes of Ear Pain Due to Cold
There are several reasons why a cold can cause ear pain:
- Congestion around the ear: Your ear, nose, and throat are closely connected. Normally, the eustachian tube that connects the back of the nose and throat to the middle ear stops excess pressure and fluid buildup in the middle ear. However, during a cold, mucus and fluid can accumulate and block the eustachian tube, causing earache and discomfort.
- Middle ear infection: Unresolved cold can cause the virus to enter the middle ear, resulting in an otitis media infection. This can lead to fluid buildup and bacterial growth, causing symptoms such as earache, swelling, hearing difficulty, fever, and redness in the ear.
- Sinus infection: Prolonged colds can lead to sinus infections, causing inflammation in the nose and forehead areas. Sinusitis may cause ear pressure, leading to earache and other symptoms like congestion, nasal discharge, facial pain, and breathing difficulties.
Ear pain is common in children and toddlers because their immune systems are less developed, making them more susceptible to viral infections. Addressing the ear pain at the onset of a common cold can help prevent it from worsening.
If your young one suffers from enlarged adenoids, ear pain due to a cold may be a common occurrence. Learn home remedies to manage adenoiditis: Seven Simple And Effective Home Remedies To Relieve Enlarged Adenoids
Home remedies to relieve ear pain due to cold
1. Warm Compress
Applying a warm compress to the affected ear can provide quick pain relief. This method is particularly helpful for infants, as it delivers a soothing effect and helps calm them down.
2. Sleep Position Change
Sleeping with the affected ear facing upward and not pressed against the pillow can aid in draining any excess fluid from the ear. Elevating the head with pillows can also alleviate ear pain, especially in children.
3. Nasal Rinsing
Nasal rinsing can help relieve sinus infections associated with a common cold, as it helps drain mucus and infectious viruses from the nasal cavity. However, alternative methods may be more suitable for young children.
4. Staying Hydrated
Consuming plenty of fluids helps reduce mucus in the throat, speeding up the recovery from cold symptoms and reducing residual ear pain.
5. Ginger or Garlic
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, while garlic has antibiotic properties. Both can help alleviate earaches. Mixing their juices with warmed olive oil and applying them around the ear canal can relieve pain. However, only one of these remedies should be used at a time, and pouring the juices directly into the ear without proper guidance should be avoided. These oil mixtures can be used externally as massage oil for children to relieve ear pain.
6. Olive Oil
Olive oil, known for its antibacterial properties, may relieve earaches. Though there’s little evidence, applying 1-2 drops of warmed olive oil to the infected ear does not cause harm and can help soothe the ear muscles and alleviate pain. It is generally safe for infants, but it’s best to crosscheck with experts and ensure that the oil is not warmer than body temperature to prevent dizziness.
Steaming can help decongest sinus blocks and eustachian tube blocks. It works by thinning mucus clogging the eustachian tube, thus helping drain fluid buildup.
Your body needs plenty of rest to fight off infections. A nutritious diet, good sleep, rest, and suitable home remedies can help your cold cure soon and relieve earache.
Sometimes, a common cold might take time to go away, causing additional problems such as ear pain. Children, especially those on formula feed, are more susceptible to earaches. Finding the right remedies can help children find relief from ear pain. If there are concerns about using the above treatments for infants and children, it is best to consult a doctor for proper guidance.