Ear infections or otitis media is extremely painful and can affect people of all ages. It typically starts in the middle ear or sometimes impacts the area between the inner ear and the ear drum. Bacteria and fungi can both cause ear infections. Toddlers and babies suffering frequently from ear infections are generally prone to allergies, coughs, colds, upper respiratory tract or viral infections. In rare cases, cancer and other serious health conditions can also lead to ear pain in the ear canal. Let us consider some home remedies to treat ear infections naturally:
1. Warm water compress to relieve ear infection pain
Place a warm bag or bottle filled with hot water against the ear to relieve ear infection pain quickly. The heat helps draw out fluid from the ear, relieving pressure and reducing swelling. This is a good home remedy to stop ear pain until the antibiotics kick in.
2. Essential oil drops
One of the best remedies for ear infection pain is adding a few drops of essential oil such as tea tree oil in the ear. Tea tree oil is antimicrobial and kills the bacteria or fungi causing the ear pain. This is one of the most powerful home remedies for treating ear infection in toddlers, adults or babies without antibiotics.
3. Mixture of water and vinegar
Vinegar is readily available in most households and one can use it for many things including fighting ear infections and treating Swimmer’s ear. Mix together equal quantities of water and vinegar. Taking a dropper, add a few drops of the above mixture in the painful ear. Let it sit for a few minutes. The vinegar readjusts the pH level inside the ear drum so the bacteria or fungus is unable to thrive inside. This is one of the super simple yet most effective home remedies for ear infections in infants and babies.
4. Juice of garlic or onion
This remedy for ear ache is straight out of grandma’s kitchen. You need to grate or crush enough garlic or onions to get some juice from it. Put a few drops of this juice inside the ear. Lie down on the side so that it works its magic. The antibacterial properties of onion and garlic juice fight the bacteria causing the ear infection. You can also chop onion and garlic together in small pieces and add them to hot olive oil. Let the oil cool down a bit and allow the juices to infuse in it. Now with a dropper, add the olive oil in the ear. This helps remove wax buildup and also drains the infection causing fluid quickly. You can also mix garlic oil with St.John’s wort or oil of Mullein flowers to treat ear pain.
5. Herbs- Echinacea or Goldenseal
One of the best home remedies to prevent and treat ear infections in adults is to take capsules of Echinacea and/or Goldenseal. These herbs detoxify the body clearing up infections quickly. They also stimulate the production of white blood cells and build the body’s immune system.You can drink the tincture or herbal tea of these herbs readily available in the market. Other popular herbs to treat ear infections include Licorice, Ginger, Elderberry, Mullein, and Oregon Graperoot.
6. Aromatherapy and steam inhalation
Inhaling steam can help relieve nasal congestion which is often responsible for ear pain. Fill up the steamer with water; add some essential oils like Peppermint or Eucalyptus oils and inhale the steam coming from it. This simple remedy is useful for treating ear aches caused by colds in babies and toddlers.
7. Wipe the ear canal with coconut oil
Mix a few drops of basil essential oil with warm coconut oil. Soak a cotton wool ball in this mixture and gently wipe the child’s inner ear. Coconut oil is antibacterial in nature and prevents the ear infection from worsening.
8. Apple cider vinegar
Take a few drops of organic ACV and mix it with a few drops of clean, fresh water. Soak some cotton wool in this mixture and plug up the ear canals with the cotton wool for approximately 5 minutes. The vinegar draws out the microbes and kills them on contact clearing up the infection quickly. This is also a powerful home remedy to treat ear infections in dogs.
9. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is recommended for many ailments and is a powerful homeopathic remedy for treating anxiety and depression. However, you can also use it to treat ear infections in adults, infants or babies naturally. Take the dosage based on the bottle/package or talk to an herbalist/homeopath about it.
10. Lemon juice or lemon balm
The citric acid in lemon juice helps eliminate bacteria causing the ear infection. Add a few drops of lemon juice in the ear and lie down for a few minutes. You can, alternatively, apply lemon balm inside the ear to stop the ear pain caused by colds and viral infections.
11. Hydrogen peroxide
A few drops of hydrogen peroxide added to a sore ear can help relieve pain and clear away the buildup causing the infection.
12. Treat the underlying cause of the infection
Food allergies or food sensitivity can all lead to ear infections. In adults, excessive smoking, tobacco habit or exposure to second hand smoke/pollution can lower immunity and lead to chronic ear aches. In babies and infants, feeding with bottle while lying on the back can cause the fluids to flow back upwards in the Eustachian tube creating a favorable environment for microbes. Changing these habits can help put a stop to chronic ear infections.
13. Avoid antibiotics
Excess use of antibiotics kills the healthy bacteria and weakens the body’s natural defenses. So avoid taking antibiotics as far as possible particularly if you are suffering from frequent ear infections.
14. Dietary restrictions
Chronic ear infections imply a weakened immune system. Try and avoid dairy as it increases mucous formation leading to colds, coughs and upset stomach. Also avoid sugary beverages, soda pops and sweetened caffeinated drinks. It is best to drink plenty of water and unsweetened and decaffeinated herbal teas to prevent infections.
If these ear infection home remedies fail to show results or the pain is extreme, it is best to get yourself examined by a doctor and take prescribed antibiotics for it.