Although more common in children, ear infections occur in people of all ages. While the outer, middle, and inner ear can be infected, the diagnosis of an ear infection usually refers to a middle ear infection or otitis media. Ear infections cause symptoms of pain, satiety, or hearing pressure. These infections may go away on their own, and if antibiotics are needed, symptoms often improve within a few days of starting treatment. In the meantime, ear pain can interfere with sleep. Here's how to sleep with an ear infection.
How to sleep with an ear infection: relieve pain
Take a painkiller
Such as acetaminophen, naproxen or ibuprofen before bedtime. For children under 2 years old, ask your pediatrician for advice before using painkillers. If you are under a doctor's supervision for any ongoing medical condition or are taking prescription medication, ask your doctor which pain reliever is right for you.
Manage allergies and congestion
Adults who have ear infections related to an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold, may benefit from temporary use of oral or nasal decongestants, such as phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine. Using them before bed can improve comfort and lead to better sleep. If your ear infection is related to allergies, a antihistamine such as chlorpheniramine can help improve symptoms. In children, antihistamines or decongestants are not considered beneficial for managing symptoms of otitis media, so use them only under the direction of your child's pediatrician.
Elevate head while sleeping
Try sleeping in a position that encourages the fluid in your ear to drain out. Sleep on a recliner or with an extra pillow to rest your head comfortably. To raise the head of your bed, buy a travel pillow.
OUR TRAVEL CUSHIONS TO RAISE THE HEAD
Sip or swallow
Sip water before going to bed or during the night. Otherwise, eat a light snack. Swallowing can help trigger and drain the muscles that help the Eustachian tubes or that run from the middle of the ear to the back of the nasal cavity, thus reducing pain.
How to sleep with an ear infection: The correct sleeping position
Try to sleep on the side, because lying on your back puts more pressure on your ears. It may be more comfortable to sleep on the side of the healthy ear and thus sleep with an ear infection without feeling pain.
Habits to adopt
You can reduce the risk of ear infections in your or your child's ear by not smoking or avoiding smoke, managing allergies and making sure you or your child are up to date on your recommended vaccinations. These are simple habits to implement to know how to sleep with an ear infection.
Ear infections, if they do not improve or are not treated, can lead to permanent hearing loss in children and adults. See a doctor if you or your child have a severe earache or hearing loss. If your baby has a fever, pulling on his ears, is unusually irritable, can't sleep, or doesn't respond to sounds as usual, take him to his pediatrician. Also, if you or your child experience a sudden sharp pain followed by drainage of blood or pus from the ear, consult a doctor immediately, as it may be from a perforated eardrum.
You now have all the cards in hand to be able to sleep with an ear infection!