This is how you apply ear drops

Ear drops are best suited to deliver active ingredients deep into the ear canal. They work on the spot

Calm pain on site: ear drops work quickly. This means that patients can often save themselves further medication and possible side effects

© YourPhotoToday / A1Pix

The pluses

  • Ear drops are suitable for inflammation, itching or pain in the external auditory canal and for dissolving earwax plugs. "The drops are often needed, especially in the swimming pool season," adds Sabine Naumann, a pharmacist from Zwickau in Saxony.
  • Swimmers and divers, for example, also benefit from active ingredient-free care preparations that can prevent possible complications in the ear canal by forming a protective film.
  • The big advantage of ear drops is that they work quickly and directly on the spot. In this way, it is sometimes possible to save on drugs that are swallowed and thus burden the whole body. This ultimately reduces the risk of possible side effects or interactions.

It's in there

Ear drops contain, for example, analgesic, anti-inflammatory or antibiotic agents.

The medicinal substances can be dissolved in different bases - some ear drops contain water or glycerol, propylene glycol, macrogols or alcohol. Others are based on an oily base, for example peanut oil.

Pharmacist Sabine Naumann runs a pharmacy in Zwickau, Saxony

© W & B / Jürgen Lösel

Keep it safe

The package insert provides information about the use-by period. As a rule, preserved ear drops can only be used for a few weeks after opening. "Thereafter, germs and mold can develop in the drops," warns the Zwickau pharmacist. Dispose of drug residues - ideally packaged opaque - with the residual waste.

Advantage pharmacy

Consultation at the pharmacy is important because earache should not always be treated on your own. It is always advisable to see a doctor beforehand.
The pharmacist advises that it makes sense to keep your nose clear, especially when you have a cold. For this purpose, nasal drops that are watery or - only used briefly - decongestant drops are suitable.

Dripping correctly: tilt your head to one side, then dispense the appropriate dose of the drops into the ear canal

© W & B / Astrid Zacharias

Apply correctly

Ear drops may only be used if the eardrum is intact - unless the doctor orders something else. Some ingredients can be harmful if they get into the middle ear.

"Ear drops should be body warm because cold liquids can cause pain or dizziness in the ear," says pharmacist Naumann. To do this, warm the bottle by hand or put it in your pocket for a while.

When instilling, pull the earlobe backwards and upwards, for small children backwards and downwards to compensate for the natural curvature of the ear canal. Tilt your head slightly to one side and wait five minutes after use. It is easier if you let a helper instill the remedy.

The drops are distributed better if the cartilage at the entrance to the ear canal is pushed up and down quickly (tragus massage). "Never close the ear canal with cotton wool," warns pharmacist Sabine Naumann.

The ear should remain open for ventilation. Otherwise, a warm, humid climate is created in which germs can multiply well.