Home Remedies for Ear Infections

Home Remedies for Ear Infections

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  1. It’s a new parents nightmare; a fussy, crying child who can’t sleep due to an ear ache. Even seasoned parents can be driven to distraction when their child is up at night complaining of a painful ear.

    What Causes Ear Aches?
    Ear aches are a common problem in children who have recently had an upper respiratory infection such as a cold or flu. The excess mucus production can back up in the middle ear and cause inflammation and pain. Because of the angle of the ear canal and Eustachian tube in children, the mucus fails to drain into the throat. This is especially true when lying down in bed.  More pressure builds when lying down resulting in night pain that keeps your child awake. If the mucus stays trapped too long it may become infected with bacteria.

    Do Earaches Require Medication Like Antibiotics or Can Parents Provide Home Remedies for Ear Infections?
    Parents may be surprised to learn that the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommends observation and home remedies for most cases of ear ache. The AAP reports that antibiotic use in children is a major concern. 50% of all children’s antibiotic prescriptions are for ear aches. Side effects, sometimes severe, from antibiotics occur in approximately 5-10% of children. The added problem of antibiotic resistance is an even more ominous problem.  The AAP and many other medical researchers fear that resistant strains of bacteria are forming faster and faster due to overuse of antibiotics. When your child really needs an antibiotic for a severe infection, it may not work due to a built up resistance.

    AAP recommends antibiotics for:

    • Children infants to 2 years for certain infection
    • Children 2 – 12 years for certain infection with severe symptoms

    AAP recommends observation by your pediatrician and home remedies for all other cases.

    Common Home Remedies for Ear Aches:

    • Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen (never aspirin) Over the counter, children’s strength analgesics given just before bed time may lessen the inflammation and pain enough to allow your child to sleep through the night when ear aches are at their worst.
    • Similasan Earache Relief drops
      A commonly used homeopathic remedy, Similasan has been successfully recommended by natural health care givers for years. The natural ingredients dropped into the ear, help soothe the inflamed ear and allow both child and parent to rest easier.
    • Warm compress
      Application of warmth to the outer ear reduces pain and calms your child. A warm wash cloth or microwaveable hot pack works wonders, just be careful not to make them too hot for tender skin.
    • Warm vapor bath
      Your local grocer will have a variety of bedtime bath products that give off a vapor to unclog sinuses and allow your child to drain mucus. Simply give your child a warm bath with the vapor bath and let them sit and play. You’ll know its working when their nose begins to run!
    • Massage of neck muscles
      While in the vapor bath, use a gentle massage technique to promote draining of mucus from the middle ear. Place a finger or two behind your child’s ear just below the mastoid process of the skull and gently, yet firmly, drag your fingers down the muscle on the side and front of the neck ending at the collar bone. Repeat this several times on each side. Your child may notice a tickle in their throat or feel a pop! This is normal and means that the Eustachian tube has been relaxed and mucus is draining.
    • Chiropractic manipulation Chiropractors have successfully cared for children with earaches since before antibiotics were created. Gentle adjustments of the upper neck bones are said to relax the muscles of the neck and allow drainage of mucus into the Eustachian tube. Many children who previously suffered from chronic, recurrent ear infections and were regularly prescribed antibiotics, have been weaned off thanks to chiropractic care.

    The First 24 hours are the Hardest
    When your child has an earache, the important thing for you to remember is that they will be alright. Relax and just try to get them through the first 24 hours. Pediatricians note that the most painful period is the first 24 hours and that the following days are easier even with no treatment. Be prepared. Before your child has an earache, make sure you have children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen, Similasan and vapor bath on hand.

    At the first sign of your child pulling at his or her ear or waking up crying with ear pain, administer an analgesic (ibuprofen or acetaminophen) apply drops of Similasan and cover their ear with a warm compress. When they calm down and are resting, perform a gentle neck massage to the side and front of their neck. More times than not you will find this routine gets them comfortable and back to sleep.

    The following day, give them a vapor bath and neck rub. Unless they are complaining of pain or have a fever, do not give them an analgesic. Save that for night time when you need to get them to sleep.

    When to Be Concerned:
    Persistent ear pain, high fever, seizures and/or vomiting are signs of a more advanced condition that requires medical attention. Call your physician or local urgent care if your child shows these more severe signs.

    Home remedies for ear infections can be a safe and effective alternative to antibiotics to relieve your child’s ear pain.

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