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Treat Ear Infections in the Wilderness

Ear infections are unusual in adults, and usually occur only after the onset of colds or allergies. These can be painful and require immediate treatment, especially if medical help is some distance away


1. Evaluate for the signs and symptoms of an outer ear infection: pain in the ear that is particularly marked when you pull on the lobe, fever and malaise.
2. Flush the ear once a day with alcohol or diluted vinegar.
3. Warm a small amount of a bland oil such as olive oil and drop this into the ear. This can be done by gently pulling on the earlobe while pouring a few drops at a time into the opening of the ear.
4. Administer a decongestant to reduce the swelling
5. Administer acetaminophen or ibuprofen every three to four hours to relieve the pain.
6. Apply a hot water bottle to help relieve the pain.
7. Evacuate immediately if pain persists or is accompanied by vertigo. Antibiotic therapy may be necessary.


  • This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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