- There are two types of ear infection:
- Causes of Ear Infection:
- Symptoms of Ear Infection:
- Preventive measures for Ear Infection
Ear infections are also known as ‘acute otitis media’.Ear infections occur when a cold, throat infection or allergy attack causes fluid to become trapped in the middle ear the sections of your ear just behind the eardrum. It is a bacterial or viral infection in the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum which contains tiny vibrating bones of the ear. These can be painful because of the inflammation and buildup of yellow fluid in the middle ear. This infection is more frequent in children than adults. Children tend to get viral ear infections. Persistent ear infections can cause permanent hearing problems and other serious issues. Ear infections may occur in the middle ear (eardrum) or ear canal. The middle ear is filled with air but sometimes may be filled with mucus during the cold. This mucus can be infected by germs like bacteria or viruses. The eardrum may become weak due to this infection. It may also lead to tearing of eardrum.
There are two types of ear infection:
Acute Ear Infection: Acute ear infections are for short period of time but are extremely painful. They can be easily treated by natural ways or antibiotics.
Chronic Ear Infection: Chronic ear infection does not clear up and may recur at times. Chronic infection can cause permanent damage to the middle and inner ear. If the ear infection persists for many days you should consult a doctor immediately.
Causes of Ear Infection:
- Food allergies and environment allergies
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Upper Respiratory problems like blocked nose due to mucus, cough in the chest.
- Water trapped in the ear canal due to the buildup of wax.
- Fetal alcohol syndrome
- Internal injuries
- Cold or flu that leads to congestion and swelling of nasal passages.
- Excess mucus
- Sinus infections (nasal cavities become swollen and inflamed).
Symptoms of Ear Infection:
- An earache or discomfort inside the ear
- Feeling pressure in the ear
- High temperature(Fever)
- Diminished hearing for few days
- Drainage of fluid from the ear
- Young babies may be hot and irritable
- Swelling of middle ear
- Rupturing and fussiness
No doubt antibiotics are the solution for instant relief however these have a lot of side effects. It’s always to try some natural home remedies first for curing ear infection that is absolutely harmless and beneficial.
1. Garlic poultices or oil
Garlic has antimicrobial and also helps in curing the pain caused by ear infection as it has natural pain relieving properties. It is one of the most efficient and effective home remedy for the ear infection and ear ache. Rather than going for antibiotics for children we should try the garlic oil easily available at the stores. Because antibiotics may cause allergies to kids. Moreover, the infection found in children is the viral ear infection and garlic has natural antiviral properties to treat it. You can make garlic oil at home by cooking 2-3 cloves of garlic in sesame or mustard oil until it turns blackish. When it is bearably hot put two three drops in the infected ear as ear drops.
Alternatively, you can boil 3-4 cloves of garlic in water for five minutes. Crush them and add a pinch of salt. Put the mixture in a clean cloth and place it in the affected ear.
Consuming garlic in daily diet or directly 2-3 cloves daily can also fasten the healing process.
2. Breast milk
As this problem is more common in infants and children it’s recommended not to feed them from an external source rather mothers should prefer to breastfeed the infants as breast milk has natural antibodies that can help speed up the healing process. Mothers can use it as a preventive measure as well so that infants are not prone more to such infections. It alleviates the swelling and discomfort and can get rid of ear infection within two or three days. This remedy not only works for infants but also for adults. Use a dropper in the case of adults and put few drops of breast milk to the affected ear. Repeat this procedure every few hours whenever needed for immediate results.
3. Elderberry syrup
Elderberry syrup also has antiviral properties that help in speed recovery of ear infection. It is easy to go for children as it is delicious and mothers don’t need to do much effort to make the kid consume it. It also cures a mild cold and flu which are one of the causes of infected ear infection. It stimulates the immune system to fight cold and flu. You can easily make it at home. Pour water in a medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger root, cloves and cinnamon. Cook the mixture for at least half an hour on low heat till the solution is reduced to half. Remove the mixture and let it cool down. Mash the elderberries carefully. Now discard the elderberry and add 1tbsp of honey to it. Mix the honey well with the solution. Refrigerate the mixture and you can use this syrup as you want it. ½ tbsp for kids every two-three hours and 1 tbsp for adults.
4. Heating pad/ warm water bottle
The pain caused by ear infection can be reduced by a hot compress/heating pad or warm water bottle. You can use a wet wash cloth as well and add some soothing dried chamomile and rosemary to water for an extra boost. Change the washcloth frequently to keep it warm. Keeping a warm bottle near the infected area will prevent microorganism infestation. However, don’t apply the heat for the longer duration. Do it for 5 minutes remove and then apply again.
5. Mango leaf juice
Mango leaf extract is a very quick and effective treatment for ear infection. The active compound ‘mangiferin’ present in the leaves has immense benefits. The leaves of mango are full of vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants and numerous other minerals. They work great for earaches. All you need to do is crush 2-3 mango leaf to extract the juice out of them. Slightly warm the juice. Use a dropper to put the drops of mango extract into the ear. Do it twice or thrice daily to get immediate relaxation from pain and gives full relief from an ear infection. You can make a mango leaves tea and add honey along with it. It will clear all the nasal cavities and reduce mucus formation. You can try this remedy for kids as it is really helpful.
6. Olive oil
Olive oil is a natural remedy for a number of ear ailments. Olive oil clears the obstruction in the ear which is the major cause of ear infection. Ear infection majorly happens when wax in the ear catches bacterial or fungal infection leading to blockage in the Eustachian tube. Olive oil treats ear pain, infection and ear wax. It is gentle, inexpensive treatment that can make your ear ache much more bearable.
- Warm few drops of olive oil slightly and put the drops in the affected ear. Olive oil will soften the wax in the ear. You can remove the infected wax with the help of cotton-tipped swabs. Make sure you use the cotton tipped swabs carefully as they may damage the eardrum if the swab is put too far in the ear.
- You can also use mustard oil as an alternative solution.
- You can mix few drops of lavender oil along with olive oil and rub it outside the infected ear of adults and kids, followed by a warm compress.
- In a warm saucepan take olive oil and grated onion. Place few drops of the gently warm solution to the ear.
- You can use olive oil along with garlic cloves and use it as an ear drop.
7. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has healing properties and it’s a natural treatment for infections from years. Using tea tree oil one can get instant relief from ear pain. Prepare a mixture of one tbsp. of apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp. of olive oil, one tbsp. of colloidal silver and three tbsp. of tea tree oil. Slightly warm the mixture. Place a towel and keep the affected ear upright. Put 3-4 drops of the mixture and let it be there for 5 minutes. Turn your head and let the solution come out of the ear. It will work as an ear cleanser and will clear the eardrum wax. Follow this procedure thrice a day for better results. You can run tea tree oil over the ear and above the ear as well rather than inside the ear.
Read more: Home Remedies for Kidney Infection
8. Lots of fluid and broth
It is very important to keep the body hydrated by consuming a lot of fluids and it should be supported nutritionally. The broth is the mineral rich infusion of animal bones, vegetables, spices, and herbs. Consuming a lot of fluids and broth can help infants get better immunity and fight cold and flu and works as an escape from the ear infection. The broth has great nutritional benefits and regular consumption can help you fight many ailments.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Despite the strong aroma and acidic taste of apple cider vinegar, it is the best solution for removing fungus from the ear. It has the ability to fight chronic yeast infections and tackles chronic ear infections very well. Prepare a solution of apple cider vinegar with water. Instead of water, you can use alcohol as well. Take a cotton ball and dip it in the solution. Place the cotton ball inside the ear. Keep it there for 5 minutes. Remove the cotton ball and lay down in an opposite direction to flush out the liquid. Clean your ear gently and you can use a blow dryer set on low to dry the ear. You can use white vinegar as an alternative. You can gargle with apple cider vinegar if the infection is in the Eustachian tube.
Onion has great medicinal properties and it is worth considering as a cure for the ear infection. It treats inflamed and sore ear. It not only reduces the pain but also makes the healing process fast by substantially reducing ear infection.
Take one onion and cook it in a microwave for 2-3 minutes at 450F. Now peel off the onion and squeeze out the juice in it. Make sure no pieces or peel offs are left. Strain the solution. Check whether the onion juice is not too hot. Using an ear dropper put few drops of onion juice into the ear. After five minutes turn opposite to make the path for the leftover residue to come out of the ear. Clean the ear with a clean cloth. This will give you immense relief if done on daily basis twice or thrice a day.
As an alternative, if you find it difficult to take out onion juice you can bake one onion. Cut it into halves and place on half in a thick cotton cloth. Place the cloth on the infected area for 10 minutes for immediate relief.
11. Mullein Drops
Mullein is a wild flowering plant. You can extract mullein oil from the flower or you can directly buy it from the market. To prepare mullein drops take one tbsp mullein flower and out them in ½ cup of boiling water. Allow it to cool. Now add one tbsp of mullein tea and olive oil in it. Leave the mixture overnight. Put the drops of this mixture into the ears using the dropper. It gives immediate relief from an earache and produces no side effect. It helps in the drainage of pus or mucus from the ear naturally and regains hearing back. It prevents recurrence of ear infection and hence prevents chronic ear infections which can be dangerous for the ear. It can be mixed with garlic oil for better results. Alternatively, diluted eucalyptus oil can also prove out good for an ear infection.
Basil is a perfect treatment for antibiotic resistant infections. The essential oil prepared from basil leaves has antibacterial properties and few drops can prove out to be very helpful for ear infections. It also alleviates the pain caused by minor earaches. Take 4-5 holy basil leaves. Extract the juice out of it. Apply it near the infected ear. Make sure you don’t put the juice into the ear canal. Apart from this, you can make your own basil essential oil at home by taking basil juice and mixing it along with coconut oil.
Salt is easily available at home and hence considered one of the best remedies. Take one cup of salt and microwave it for 5-6 minutes. After that put the warm salt in a sock. Tie one end of the sock with a rubber band. Lie down and put the sock on the infected area. Make sure it is not so hot that it starts to hurt your ear. The warm salt in the sock will help in the drainage of fluid from the ear. The process should be repeated multiple times to get relief from pain and discomfort.
14. Other remedies
- You can use the ginger juice for the ear infection.
- Cook radish with mustard oil and then filter out the radish. You can store this oil and use it multiple times for getting relief from pain.
- Fresh sesame seed oil is also a superb homemade recipe for curing the ear infection.
- Juice from bark of banana tree
- Mineral oils or organic linseed oil
- A light tapping on the ear or use of an instrument can actually help heal an ear infection quickly.
Preventive measures for Ear Infection
- Wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of any infection.
- Breastfeeding is always recommended for infants as helps the tube in inner ear function better and provides immunities to babies. However, if you are not able to do it then sterilize the bottle before feeding and hold the bottle upright.
- Get your child all the vaccinations required at the tender age.
- Prevent common cold and flu as leads to the development of mucus and hence block the tube of the eardrum.
- While traveling in airplane our ears tend to feel pressure in the fluid of the ear. Chewing gum while in elevation and in the airplane can be done to avoid the situation.
- Keep your body hydrated and drink a lot of water. Intake fluids that have higher water contents.
- Don’t smoke as smoking can irritate the upper airways including your nose. This leads to the production of extra mucus leading to ear infections.
- Keep your immune system strong.
- Coat your ears with mineral oil while swimming.
- Avoid consuming food made with processed sugar.
- Protect yourself from injuries, allergies and infections. Boost your immune system and protect yourself from any illness or disease.
- Keep your ears clean by using mineral oil, warm water or hydrogen peroxide solution. Avoid using used cotton swabs as they may also lead to ear infection.