Caused by a bacterium or virus in the middle ear, an ear infection typically results when another illness, such as a cold, flu, or allergy, causes congestion and/or swelling in the nasal passages, Eustachian tubes and throat. The Eustachian tubes, the small tubes than run from the ears directly to the throat, can be blocked due to:
The symptoms of an ear infection can come on rapidly. However, they differ somewhat between children and adults.
For children, they commonly include:
- Ear discomfort, particularly while lying down
- An urge to tug or pull at the ear
- Irritability and/or crying
- Sleeping difficulty
- Loss of balance
- Loss of appetite
- Hearing difficulty
- Fever greater than 100 F (38 C)
- Drainage of fluid from the ear
Common symptoms in adults include:
- Ear discomfort
- Hearing loss
- Fluid drainage from the ear
Ottis media, the proper name for a middle ear infection, is an infection behind the eardrum. It is most common in children with colds.
An inner ear infection is caused by a virus. Symptoms may include severe vertigo that lasts for weeks or months. Hearing loss and tinnitus are common with inner ear infections.
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Mild ear infections can usually be treated at home. But if symptoms worsen or cause severe discomfort, you should visit an MD Now Urgent Care for medical attention.
A mild ear infection should respond well to the following types of treatment:
- A warm cloth applied to the infected ear
- Over-the-counter decongestants such as pseudoephedrine
- Over-the-counter discomfort reducers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Over-the-counter prescription ear drops for discomfort
If symptoms worsen or show no improvement, you’ll need to visit your MD Now Urgent Care. An oral or topical prescription medication may be necessary. Make sure you complete the entire course of antibiotics, if prescribed.
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Preventing ear infections can be tricky since they are often caused by hereditary factors.
To reduce the risk of an ear infection in adults and children:
- Breastfeed infants for the first year
- If you smoke, stop
- Avoid secondhand smoke
- Practice proper hygiene such as washing hands regularly
- Treat acute ear infections
- Stay up to date on flu, pneumonia and meningitis vaccinations
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“The above is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. If you require medical advice or treatment, you should go to MD Now Urgent Care, your physician, or the nearest ER for evaluation.”
I have to set my emotions aside and understand the facts of whatever illness I may be dealing with.
So what are the facts?
- Ear infections are painful, often cause fevers, and if left untreated, can progress until there is a loss of hearing and possibly permanent damage to the ear.
- There are infections of all sorts that are stubborn and resist natural remedies.
- There are infections of all sorts that are stubborn and respond better to natural remedies than they do to allopathic treatment.
Knowing the facts, I also have Killer Momma Intuition when it comes to my kids.
I can pick out their cries in a room full of people.
I can hear their voices say “Mommy!” from across a crowded room.
Alas, I can sleep through anything, but will wake immediately if I hear one of their bedroom doors crack open in the middle of the night. If I slam on my brakes while driving, I instinctively move my arm toward them to block them from danger.
These instincts allow me to make the best decisions for my kids, even when those decisions may not make sense to the world around me.
Trusting my instincts when it comes to medical care for my children means I take the facts seriously, but I don’t allow my decisions to be motivated by fear. There is a big difference between operating in fear and trusting my instincts.
#2 — Garlic Oil
If you wish to attack an ear infection with a full-on natural antibiotic, garlic oil is a powerful remedy.
We have used raw garlic with much success against a host of illnesses in our home, including strep throat! I can personally speak to the power of garlic to treat even the most difficult infections.
You can purchase a ready-made garlic oil that is specifically for this purpose. These are often mixed with other herbs, such as mullein or goldenseal.
Ear infections, especially in children, tend to come on suddenly. There may not be time to order a pre-made garlic oil and receive it before the infection gets worse.
In that case, it is helpful to know how to make your own — and it’s very simple!
Homemade Garlic Oil: A Natural Remedy For Ear Infections
Combine the garlic with olive oil in a small, glass dish.
Allow the garlic to “steep” in the olive oil and release its healing properties for 2 to 4 hours. This retains all the benefits of raw garlic, plus olive oil is soothing to any inflammation in the ears.
Strain the oil, then place 2 or 3 drops in the infected ear. You can do this up to 4 times per day.
Use more olive oil — 2 tablespoons — for very small children so that it is not quite as concentrated.
#3 — Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver is a natural microbial antibiotic made of minute silver particles suspended in water.
Colloidal silver essentially cuts off the oxygen supply of infections, thereby making it very difficult for them to remain alive or spread.
The process of treating an ear infection with colloidal silver is very similar to hydrogen peroxide.
Rather than filling the ear canal with peroxide, however, you should only use 2 or 3 drops of colloidal silver in the infected ear. Using colloidal silver in both ears will help prevent the spread of the infection to the other ear, which often happens.
Retain the colloidal silver in the ear as long as possible — but for at least 10 to 15 minutes — before allowing it to drain out.
A couple of summers ago, our kids got swimmer’s ear several times, and colloidal silver was the only remedy that was able to knock it out.
#5 — Chiropractic Adjustments
Our family are huge fans of chiropractic. In fact, when we started getting regular adjustments in 2008, our eyes were opened to the world of natural and holistic health care — and we’ve never looked back.
Wellness-focused chiropractors will not treat the ear infection. Instead, they see the ear infection as a symptom of a deeper issue: a body out of alignment.
The adjustment restores body function by reducing nervous system stress that keeps the body from functioning normally and healing.
Our bodies are made to heal themselves. With the spine in alignment, the body takes care of the rest.
Whether it’s ear infections, constipation, or PMS, often the root of the issue is found in the spine. Aligning the spine removes the interference and allows the body to heal.