Ear infections will generally land you in the doctor’s office, but over the counter relief may be available, without the line in the waiting room and co-pay. Home remedies may help the symptoms of the ear infection, but a doctor may be crucial to recovery.
Acetaminophen or ibuprofen is generally what doctors recommend. Children should not take aspirin because of the possibility of Reye’s syndrome. Ear drops are available that will help with the pain.
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, antihistamines and decongestants are not recommended treatments for ear infections. A study in the September 2003 issue of "The Journal of Pediatrics" concluded children treated with antihistamines alone for an acute ear infection had significantly longer earaches than children given other treatment methods.
Either by using a heating pad or warm compress, heat can relieve some of the discomfort, as well as coax the swelling to go down so the fluid can drain. Do not use heat for children that are unable to communicate if something is too hot.
Gargling salt water may sooth a sore throat and clear the Eustachian tubes where the fluid and infection are resting, according to WebMD.
If your ear infection is caused by a bacteria and not a virus, you will probably need antibiotics, which means a trip to the doctor. The antibiotics will kill the bacteria, relieving your earache. If your ear infection is not any better in two days with using the over the counter medicines, see a physician.