Ear infections are one of the most common illnesses that children between three months and seven years suffer from. When many parents hear the word, “infection,” they run to the doctor begging for antibiotics. However, most ear infections get better without antibiotics, and recurrent ear infections are often due to repeated antibiotic use. So how do you think rationally about pediatric earaches when your little one is screaming in pain? Stock up on natural remedies now, while you’re feeling clear-headed, so that you’re prepared when the next earache strikes.
It’s not uncommon for pediatric earaches to be misdiagnosed as infections, when they’re actually caused by fluids and congestion that get backed up and have nowhere else to go. Studies have shown that almost all pediatric ear infections will resolve on their own in a few days, and that many of these involved no bacterial component whatsoever. Although ear irritations can mimic the symptoms as ear infections, antibiotics will do no good to relieve the pain if there’s no bacteria to kill. To be safe, you can ask your doctor to perform a swab culture to confirm if the irritation is bacterial or viral before beginning an antibiotic regimen. More often than not, the irritation will clear up before the test results come back. Not only do the bacteria that cause actual ear infections become drug-resistant very quickly, but frequent antibiotic use wipes out beneficial bacteria in the body and damages the whole immune system.
Risk factors for serious earaches include everything from swimming pools to daycare, second-hand smoke, cranial-facial abnormalities, and food allergies. Fortunately, there are safe, all-natural alternatives to antibiotics that can give your child relief from ear pain and irritation. A few common home remedies for ear infections involve inserting a couple drops of warm onion juice, warm olive juice, hydrogen peroxide, or even breast milk into the ear. Some parents have had success with warm compresses applied to the ear and elevating the child’s mattress to help with drainage problems. Other natural earache remedies involve garlic and mullein oil, fermented cod liver oil, and even our own plant-based antimicrobial products based with olive leaf extract and grapefruit seed extract.
You can try massaging essential oils, such as eucalyptus, rosemary, chamomile, lavender, and tea tree oils, onto the outside of your child’s ear, jaw, face, and neck to reduce inflammation and stimulate the drainage of excess fluids. And although it might not seem entirely related, many parents take their children to see chiropractors for chronic middle ear infections. But before you rush off to the pharmacy counter, discuss some of these natural earache remedies with your child’s doctor. You might just be able to suppress the painful symptoms before they get too unbearable for your little one.