How to Stop an Ear Infection in its Tracks |

How to Stop an Ear Infection in its Tracks

Roxanne February 18, 2016

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.

Conventional Treatments

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.

How to stop an ear infection 2

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.

Visit this page for detailed instructions on how to make garlic ear oil.


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.

Have You Ever Tried Any of These Remedies For an Ear Infection? What Was Your Experience?

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Roxanne and her family live a holistic lifestyle, eating healthy whole foods, practicing yoga, and using natural remedies and alternative medicine. After a career in the fashion industry in New York, Roxanne went back to school and was trained as a Certified Holistic Health Coach and started her own business helping other moms to create their own holistic lifestyle. On any given day Roxanne can be found cooking and creating delicious healthy recipes, creating handmade natural beauty products, practicing yoga and meditation, learning about the latest information on nutrition and health, or having fun with her daughter and husband. Read more from Roxanne on her blog The Holistic mama
  1. I have four children and have never needed antibiotics for ear infections. That being said, I understand that not all kids are the same. I have used just plain olive oil drops. Later I discovered the benefits of adding garlic to the oil. When I was a kid, my mom used the same remedy for me. Plain olive oil. It works instantly!


  2. Hi. I am a PA who has worked in primary care as well as a pediatric ENT practice. I think these options mentioned here may be helpful for reducing ear pain from ear infections, but the collection of middle ear fluid can take months to resolve, and the eardrum prevents anything you put in the ear from reaching the middle ear space (assuming it’s intact). It’s okay try to avoid antibiotics. Often you can. However, taking antibiotics does not increase the risk of the fluid from becoming re-infected. Antibiotics kill the bacteria but do not get rid of the fluid. Sometimes the fluid in the middle ear space is so thick it is like glue. Only making a small incision in the eardrum and suctioning it out will resolve this. This is done by an ENT. With these thick fluid collections, this diminishes the child’s hearing significantly and if the child is young enough, it can also cause delayed speech and learning problems. So if your child is slow to speak or exhibits behavior/learning/developmental problems, have them seen by an audiologist to check the hearing and eliminate middle ear effusion as a possible cause. If they do have an effusion, an ENT consult would be the next step.


  3. My first – 8 months old – just had her first ear infection. It was a surprise diagnosis, as I took her to see the nurse practitioner for what seemed like merely a minor sinus infection that she was also clearly on the mend from – I just wanted to cover my bases as a responsible parent. “And we have an ear infection in the right ear”. What?! Yeah, so I’m a rookie parent who recently found out that it’s nearly impossible to tell when your baby has an ear infection. Anyhow, the nurse prescribed amoxicillin, and I left deflated because I couldn’t make sense of giving my baby 10 DAYS of an antibiotic run for an illness she was showing obvious recovery from.

    I did some research and I also got in touch with one of my close friends, who recommended elderberry syrup and garlic ear drops, along with some well-received cautions about the dangers of the differing types of ear infections. I deduced from my readings that my daughter clearly did not have an inner ear infection; I bought some natural remedies and checked in with the nurse for the green light. She gave it! I used Hyland’s Baby Mucus + Cold Relief – a homeopathic decongestant among other reliefs [very sparingly, only when baby couldn’t get sleep because of coughing and congestion] – elderberry syrup, and an ear oil made up of infusions of mullein flower, garlic, calendula and Saint John’s Wart. Hyland’s and the ear oil made the most obvious effects on my baby. I tried the ear oil myself, as I had major congestion in my ears from a sinus infection, and within a couple hours of application I forgot I even had any congestion anywhere besides my face.

    Our 2-week checkup was today, and she received a clean bill of health – YES!!!

    Applying the oil to baby worked the best when she was either winding down for a nap in my arms or right when I put her down for a nap. It only has to sit there in the ear canal for 3 minutes before it can drain out (beware the staining and smell!).


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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