Ear infections can be painful and disruptive, affecting both children and adults. Knowing how to properly care for your ears when you have an infection is crucial to prevent further complications and promote healing. In this article, we will discuss the things you should avoid doing when you have an ear infection and provide tips on how to take care of your ears.
Table of Contents
- What should you not do with an ear infection?
- How to care for your ears
- Key Takeaways
What should you not do with an ear infection?
When you have an ear infection, it is important to avoid certain activities and behaviors that can worsen your symptoms or prolong the healing process. Here are some things you should not do:
1. Insert anything into your ear
One of the most important things to remember is to never insert anything into your ear when you have an infection. This includes cotton swabs, bobby pins, or any other objects. These can push the bacteria deeper into the ear canal or cause damage to the delicate structures of the ear. Instead, leave the cleaning to a healthcare professional.
2. Ignore the pain
Ear infections can be quite painful, but ignoring the pain can lead to complications. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience severe or persistent pain in your ear. Your healthcare provider can determine the cause of the pain and prescribe appropriate treatment.
3. Expose your ears to water
Water can aggravate an ear infection and prolong the healing process. Avoid swimming, taking showers, or submerging your head in water until your infection has cleared. If you must shower, use earplugs or cover your ears with a water-resistant barrier.
4. Use over-the-counter ear drops without consulting a healthcare professional
While over-the-counter ear drops can provide temporary relief for some ear infections, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before using them. They can determine the appropriate treatment for your specific infection and advise you on the proper use of ear drops.
5. Smoke or expose yourself to secondhand smoke
Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke can irritate the respiratory system and worsen ear infections. If you smoke, consider quitting or at least minimizing your exposure to smoke until your infection has resolved.
How to care for your ears
Now that you know what not to do with an ear infection, let’s discuss some tips on how to properly care for your ears:
1. Keep your ears clean
While you should avoid inserting anything into your ears, it is still important to keep them clean. Gently clean the outer part of your ears with a soft cloth or tissue. Avoid using cotton swabs as they can push wax and debris further into the ear canal.
2. Use warm compresses
Applying warm compresses to the affected ear can help alleviate pain and promote healing. Place a warm, damp cloth or a heating pad set to low temperature on your ear for 10-15 minutes at a time. Make sure the compress is not too hot to avoid burns.
3. Take over-the-counter pain relievers
If your ear infection is causing pain, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Always follow the recommended dosage and consult your healthcare provider if the pain persists or worsens.
4. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions
When you visit a healthcare provider for an ear infection, make sure to follow their instructions carefully. Take any prescribed medications as directed and attend any follow-up appointments. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.
- Avoid inserting anything into your ear when you have an infection to prevent further complications.
- Seek medical attention if you experience severe or persistent pain in your ear.
- Avoid exposing your ears to water until your infection has cleared.
- Consult a healthcare professional before using over-the-counter ear drops.
- Avoid smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke as it can worsen ear infections.
- Gently clean the outer part of your ears with a soft cloth, but avoid using cotton swabs.
- Apply warm compresses to alleviate pain and promote healing.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers as directed.
- Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and attend any follow-up appointments.
Can I swim with an ear infection?
No, it is best to avoid swimming or submerging your head in water when you have an ear infection. Water can aggravate the infection and delay the healing process.
How long does it take for an ear infection to heal?
The healing time for an ear infection varies depending on the severity and type of infection. It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks for the infection to resolve completely. It is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and seek medical attention if the symptoms worsen or persist.
Can I use ear drops for an ear infection?
It is best to consult a healthcare professional before using any ear drops for an ear infection. They can determine the appropriate treatment for your specific infection and advise you on the proper use of ear drops.
Knowing what not to do when you have an ear infection is crucial for promoting healing and preventing complications. Avoid inserting anything into your ear, seek medical attention for severe or persistent pain, and avoid exposing your ears to water. Follow proper ear care practices and consult a healthcare professional for guidance. By taking these precautions, you can ensure a faster recovery and minimize the risk of further complications.