By Roxanne, Contributing Writer
Five out of every six children experience an ear infection by the time they are 3 years old. This is how common this childhood ailment is today. The real problem with this is not the infection itself but the way that it is being treated.
What is an Ear Infection?
The reason why children under the age of 3 are more likely to have an ear infection is because the Eustachian tube inside the ear is very small and not fully developed. The shorter tubes have less room for air flow which keeps germs from getting trapped inside the ear. With the restricted air flow, germs are more likely to get trapped in the middle ear causing a buildup of fluid. This fluid build up is what causes the pain and pressure of an ear infection but it is also the body’s natural way of fighting off the germs.
Most often ear infections are treated with an antibiotic. Antibiotics may or may not work on the acute infection and also raises the risk of repeat infections. The use of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance which means that the bacteria mutates and gets stronger so that the antibiotic drug will not work on it any longer.
Taking antibiotics also is damaging to the child’s gut flora. Antibiotics do their job of killing bacteria in the body, it does not discriminate between beneficial bacteria and harmful ones. They will clear out the gut of all the good bacteria needed to fight off future infections. Other side effects of this can be digestive upset including constipation or diarrhea.
It is possible for an ear infection to clear on it’s own but there are some natural remedies that are safe, gentle, and effective at relieving pain and assisting the body to heal on it’s own.
Natural Remedies for Ear Infections
Natural remedies are a way to help your child get through an illness without using harsh drugs that may have short or long term side effects. They help assist the body to fight off the illness with it’s natural germ fighting ability. This helps to strengthen a developing immune system while also alleviating uncomfortable symptoms.
Natural remedies for ear infections, and any other ailment, work very well when you combine two or more methods. There a few cases when things shouldn’t be combined (not because it’s unsafe just because it’s ineffective) but for the most part they work well together to help the body do it’s job.
The Onion Pack
This remedy is amazing. I read about the onion pack years before I ever used it and I had my doubts about whether or not it would work. My children were not part of the statistic and did not have any ear infections until after the age of 3. My daughter got her first ear infection a few weeks after her third birthday. It so happened that a few days earlier I had a conversation with another natural mama about how an onion pack stopped her son’s ear pain in minutes. So, I tried it.
When she said minutes, she meant it! I was amazed at how fast the pain subsided in my daughter’s ear when I used an onion pack. Onions help to get fluids moving, just think about when you cut open an onion and it makes your eyes tear. It’s the same concept, makes a lot of sense.
How to Use an Onion Pack:
- Cut a yellow onion in half
- Warm in the oven at 200 degrees for a few minutes
- Wrap the warmed onion in cheese cloth and hold up against the ear until it has cooled
Garlic Ear Oil
Once you’ve got the fluid moving and the pain has subsided it is a great idea to follow up the onion pack with garlic ear oil. Garlic has so many anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial benefits and really helps to fight against germs. Using a garlic infused oil for an ear infection it also helps to lubricate the inside of the ear and prevent the problem from occurring again.
Probiotics are one of my go-to remedies for almost all illnesses. It is something that can be used on a daily basis to build up a strong immune system and can also be used as a remedy to fight off current illness. Maintaining a healthy balance of gut flora is essential because when the body is attacked with a bacteria or a virus you’ll have the good bacteria needed to fight them off and avoid illness all together.
If you are interested in digging deeper and learning more about how natural remedies can help your family, I encourage you to join my online course on natural remedies for parents. My co-creator of the course has been a pediatric nurse for over 20 years and both of us have personal experience using the remedies on our own children.