I woke up last night with an earache. It is only the third one I have ever had in my life. There is inflammation and the pain is mild, which makes my ear infection perfect for natural remedies.
WebMd describes an ear infection as:
Ear infections (acute otitis media) occur in the space behind the eardrum, which is called the middle ear. Ear infections are more likely to occur after a cold or other upper respiratory infection has been present for a few days.
During a cold, throat infection, or allergy attack, the tube that connects the throat and the middle ear (eustachian tube) swells and prevents air from entering the middle ear. This can create suction, which pulls fluid into the middle ear space. The fluid becomes trapped in the middle ear, allowing viruses or bacteria to grow and cause infection.
It used to be that doctors regularly prescribed antibiotics for ear infections; however, there has been a shift in the medical community to prevent the overuse of antibiotics. According to CBS News, “only 1 in 8 children needs antibiotics to treat his/her ear infection.”
Here are five natural remedies for ear infections:
1. Eucalyptus and Lavender oil steam: Pour boiling water into a large glass bowl (do not use plastic). Add two to three drops of each oil. Cover your head with a towel and breath in the steam to reach those areas connecting your ears, nose, and throat. Be careful not to use too much oil or too much heat.
2. Garlic: Boil one clove of garlic in 1/2 cup of water until the clove is soft, not mushy. Place on the ear, cover with gauze or a cotton ball and secure with first aid tape. Do not push the clove into the ear canal. Change daily. The garlic helps draw the infection out. This remedy comes from The Handbook to Alternatives to Chemical Medicine, which was my first natural health book.
3. Hot compresses: Take a washcloth soaked in hot water, and allow the heat to relieve the pain. Repeat as often as needed.
4. Mullein Drops: Mullein is useful for so many things, and luckily, it grows wild where we live. Make a strong tea of one teaspoon mullein flowers to one-half cup of water. Mix one tablespoon of mullein tea with one tablespoon olive oil and allow to sit overnight. Apply one drop of liquid in the infected ear. Again, this remedy comes from The Handbook to Alternatives to Chemical Medicine.
5. Breastmilk: Just a few drops of breastmilk offers relief, although breastfed babies have a much lower rate of ear infections than bottle-fed infants and thus may never need this remedy. Repeat several times a day.
*Remember, I am not a doctor, and this should not be construed as medical advice. Ear infections can be extremely painful, and some require antibiotics in order to heal. Never let your child suffer from a painful ear infection. The New York Times offers the following advice as to when to see the doctor:
Careful monitoring of the child”s condition (watchful waiting) along with home remedies and common over the counter cold medicines may be a viable alternative to antibiotic treatment for many children with a first episode of acute otitis media.
- In one 2000 study, 240 children under age 2 who were diagnosed with acute otitis media were treated with watchful waiting. After 4 days, only 3% of the children required treatment with antibiotics, while the infection cleared in the other 97%.
- High fever, severe pain, or other signs of complications should warrant immediate attention by a medical professional.
- Parents of infants should contact their doctor immediately if they have any fever, regardless other symptoms.