The telltale screaming in the middle of the night…it’s an ear infection! Or is it? Should you reach for the antibiotics or a natural home remedy for the ear infection? I was surprised to find out that many ear infections are not really ear infections at all but actually a build up of fluid.
Is it really an ear ‘infection’?
That is the million dollar question. Apparently ear infections are too often misdiagnosed as an infection (read: bacterial) when it is really just a build up of fluid. Then this build up of fluid is over treated with antibiotics. The American Association of Pediatricians issued a statement in 2004 with some guidelines on a ‘wait and see’ approach to ear infections. Many doctors still do not follow the advice.
This is probably due to us, as parents. I mean, I have had those sleepless nights holding a screaming child. I would do anything to get my child some relief. I ran into the doctor’s office demanding an antibiotic more times before my daughter hit the age of 2 than I care to admit. This was all, however, before I got into real food and natural remedies.
Natural home remedies for ear infections
Once I learned about how antibiotics were being abused and their impact on our gut flora, I decided to try something new the next time my daughter got an ear infection. You might be surprised at my list as it does not include something that many recommend…but I will explain why in a minute.
So here is what I do and what has worked for us:
1. Calendula oil.
Calendula is an oil that draws heat out, unlike garlic oil. Many do recommend garlic and have had success with it but it is a very hot oil. It can keep the heat in the reddened ear. Garlic is an excellent herbal antibiotic, however, for this reason, I do not use it. I dropped one tiny drop of calendula on the outside of the ear and then massaged it into the ear (never drop it right into the ear directly).
2. Lemon essential oil.
Lemon essential oil is good at draining the lymphs and the eustachian tube in the ears. Sometimes this is all they need to drain that fluid build up. I dilute 1-2 drops of Lemon essential oil with a bit of coconut oil (equal parts) and rub gently around the outside of the ear and over the lymph nodes on the side of the neck.
3. The cotton ball remedy.
Put a few drops of Lavender, Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree), Purification, or Melrose essential oil (where to by therapeutic grade essential oils) onto a cotton ball. Gently place the cotton ball in the ear. Swap out for a new fresh cotton ball 2-3 times per day until the infection is gone. Again – NEVER put these oils directly in the ear.
I have tried this twice with my daughter and the results were quick and painless. She went from screaming to calm within 10 minutes of using these home remedies for ear infections!
I will never be able to get over the guilt of medicating her with antibiotics as many times as I did her first two years of life. But when you know better, you do better!
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Further Reading from Around the Web
- Over 25 Uses For Peppermint Essential Oil
- The Sick Families Shopping List
- How To Buy Therapeutic Essential Oils
- Essential Oils for Baby
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