Earaches can be a sign of something serious, so don’t turn a deaf ear if you have persistent, severe pain or discharge—see a doctor as soon as possible. But if you have a minor waterlogged feeling in your ear (and you recently had the flu or a cold), here are three soothing home remedies to make this annoying condition disappear…

Easy olive oil fix: Fill the ear with three warm (not too hot) drops of olive oil and loosely plug the ear with a cotton ball. Do this three or four times a day until the earache is gone.

Gingery healer: Mix the juice from grated fresh ginger with an equal amount of sesame oil. Drop in three drops of the mixture (a clean eyedropper works well) into your ear canal, and loosely plug the ear with a cotton ball. It might sting a bit, but try to keep it there for at least an hour. (You can also steep a sliced-up three-inch knob of ginger in simmering water for 20 minutes and use this tea to add to the sesame oil.)

Infections hate pepper: Put a few drops of castor oil on a piece of cotton. Sprinkle the oiled cotton with black pepper, and apply it to the aching ear—not in the ear canal, but directly on the ear. You should feel relief in minutes, but repeat as often as needed.