Your medical terminology lesson of the day: Otitis Media, commonly known as an ear infection. This occurs when fluid becomes trapped in the middle ear, welcoming germs and bacteria to grow and brew a nasty infection.
It can happen to the oldest and youngest ears alike, however, it tends to occur more often in children. The tube that leads the ear to the throat is much smaller in a child‘s ear; therefore it is more susceptible to blockage. Once that tube becomes blocked, the fluid is trapped within the middle ear.
For those of us who have children, an ear infection is just one of those things you go through with your child. It’s the pesky earache that wakes them up in the middle of the night and causes your child to fuss and tug at their ears throughout the day. It might also provoke a fever, which again causes them to sleep poorly overall.
As it is difficult to see our children in pain, we often turn to traditional Western medicine as our first plan of action. If it is diagnosed as an ear infection, a medical doctor will typically prescribe an antibiotic. They might also suggest giving your child an over the counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, to help ease their pain.
An over the counter pain reliever will help soothe your child and keep fevers at bay. However, when it comes to taking care of the infection, an antibiotic is not always the answer.
Some studies have shown that there is truly no difference in the healing time or infection recurrence in patients that receive an antibiotic for an ear infection and for those who do not. Most ear infections will go away with time and the eardrum will heal naturally. Taking that into consideration, it seems that finding a natural way to treat such an illness is better for your child’s overall health and well being.
Ways to soothe an earache:
- Use eardrops that contain garlic, mullein or St. John’s Wort. You can find them at most drug and health food stores.
- Use a homemade eardrop/earwash from white vinegar, lemon juice or onion juice. You can find a variety of recipes online.
- Apply hot and cold compresses to the scalp, just behind your ear.
- Gently massage from behind the ear, down the neck to the collarbone. That will help decrease congestion.
- Add an essential oil, such as eucalyptus, to a humidifier. It will help break up nasal and ear congestion.
- Create an onion poultice to help with inflammation, relax sore and tense muscles and draw out toxins from the infected area. A poultice is made from a soft, moist substance in the consistency of paste and then spread on or between gauze, muslin, linen or white cotton. You would place the cloth on the body surface you are working on, i.e. behind the ear for an earache. It can be made w/ herbs and/or anything similar that would have medicinal properties (i.e. foods).
The onion poultice is good for earaches. First cleanse the area behind your ear, using hydrogen peroxide to disinfect. Place finely chopped onion between the cloth of your choice and then place that behind your ear. It is recommended that a poultice be in place for one to twenty four hours. This will help increase blood flow, decrease inflammation and draw toxins from the infected area. Apply behind the ear. Try a homeopathic earache tablet. You can find them at most health food stores.
- Alcohol-free Echinacea extract, taken orally, will help in the early stages of an ear infection.
- Make sure to take your daily recommended dose of vitamin C. You can also up the dosage, which will boost your immunity and help fight the infection.
- You can take Colloidal Silver orally or use it as an earwash. It is a natural antibiotic.
- Decrease your intake of sugar, as it will only feed the bacteria and infection.
- If you have recurring ear infections, consider getting tested for food allergies.
Make sure to consult a naturopath or homeopath regarding specific doses of medication for adults and children.
- Ear Infections – Topic Overview. WebMD.com, February 2009.
- Sheryl Walters. Use Natural Remedies for an Ear Infection. Naturalnews.com, March 2009.
- Phyllis Balch. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Penguin Books, 2006.