How to treat fluid in the ears

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Fluid in the ears can lead to painful infection, loss of hearing, disruption in balance and even diarrhea or vomiting. Fluids can build up in the Eustachian tube which is part of the inner ear.

Causes of fluid in the ears

  • Infection of the sinus
  • Allergies
  • Colds
    Fluid in the ears
    Fluid in the ears can be triggered by allergies or common cold.
  • Infected or overgrown adenoids
  • Environmental irritants
  • Excess saliva and production of mucus while teething in children


  • If the person is susceptible to development of fluid in the middle ear, prevent infections such as common cold, allergies and sinus conditions by maintaining proper body hygiene such as frequently washing of the hands, sanitizing phones or equipment that is shared with other people and avoid smoky places.
  • If there is pain in the ear, apply a warm compress to the outer ear to lessen the discomfort and open up the congestion of the Eustachian tube and for easy drainage of fluid in the middle ear.
  • Place the index finger in the ear and create a vacuum. Move the index fingers in the ear and create a vacuum by moving it around gently and suction the fluid out of the ear. Release the pressure using Valsalva maneuver. Simply take a breath, hold the mouth closed and then plug the nose shut using 2 fingers and force air up the Eustachian tubes by blowing. A pop can be heard if the procedure is done properly.
  • Mix equal amounts of vinegar and isopropyl alcohol. Mix well and place the solution in an eye dropper. Put a few drops into the affected ear with water. Isopropyl alcohol and water are soluble with one another. Alcohol promotes the evaporation of water inside the ear. The vinegar and alcohol breaks up any waxy residue that can prevents the fluid from exiting.
  • Chew on a gum, food or make a chewing motion without food or gum to open up the Eustachian tube and promotes drainage of the fluid.
  • Rest the affected ear on the pillow or go to sleep with the affected ear turned downward and resting on a pillow. Gravity will force the fluid out of the ear.
  • Use a blow-drier set on lowest setting and keep it far away from the ear and give some air into the ear. The air will dry some of the fluid that builds up in the ear.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen that lessens the pain and inflammation.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter decongestants to relieve pressure in the ear and open blocked Eustachian tube. Infants should avoid drinking from a “sippy” cup to prevent fluid in the ears since they are more susceptible to this condition.

If the fluid in the ears persists for more than 2 days or the affected person experiences fever with a temperature above 102 degrees, seek medical help immediately.


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