Natural Remedies For Earache In Kids
If a child is constantly crying, looks restless, or keeps moving his ears away from you, he could be having an ear infection.
The following are simple home remedies for ear pain in kids.
1. Warm Compress: Use a warm towel compress to reduce pain around the ear and neck area. You can warm up a towel by pressing it on a hot griddle or on a warm iron. Heating pads or a small plastic bottle filled with warm water can also be used. There can be a lot of squirming involved as your child can find it uncomfortable. Do not get angry or irritated with this but try to talk him into it firmly to put the child at ease.
2. Cold Compress: If the warm compress is not helping, use a cold compress instead. Be cautious and avoid putting the ice directly on the skin of your child, as it can stop the blood flow. Ice can be put in a waterproof bag or wrapped in a towel. A frozen packet of milk is also good for this purpose. If you ran out of ice, fill cold water in a small plastic bottle and ease the pain of your child.
3. Basil Leaves: It is essential to keep this simple and inexpensive remedy always handy. Basil is known for its unequivocal medicinal properties. Crush the basil leaves extract its juice and put a few drops in the ear.
5. Garlic: Crush a couple of garlic cloves and heat it with some sesame/olive oil. Strain using a clean cloth and apply this garlic oil in and around the affected ear.
When Should I Call The Doctor
- has other serious medical problems,
- seems ill,
- vomits over and over,
- is younger than 6 months old,
- is older than 6 months old and has had a fever for more than 48 hours,
- has redness and swelling behind the ear,
- is very sleepy,
- has a skin rash,
- isnt hearing well or at all,
- remains in a lot of pain despite at least one dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or
- still has an earache after 2 days of treatment with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Who Is At Higher Risk For Ear Infections
- Children less than 5 years old, because they have shorter eustachian tubes.
- Children who attend daycare, because they tend to have more colds.
- Children with allergies.
- Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke. Smoke causes inflammation of the eustachian tube, making ear infections more likely.
- Children who were not breastfed. Breast milk has antibodies that help fight infections.
- Babies who are being bottle-fed, especially if they swallow milk while lying too flat. Milk can enter the eustachian tube and cause inflammation, which increases the risk of an ear infection. Children should be held upright while drinking a bottle. When they are old enough to hold their own bottle well, they should be taught to drink from a regular cup and no longer given a bottle.
- Children with cleft palates, as their eustachian tubes are often inflamed.
- Children of First Nations and Inuit descent, though its not clear why.
- Children with Down syndrome.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Speak Sign Language
Ear Infections And Kids Anatomy
Its their anatomy that makes them particularly susceptible.
Older children and adults have a more efficient system for clearing colds. The fluid that builds up in the ear during and after an upper respiratory illness drains down the Eustachian tube, the canal that links the ear to the nose and throat.
In children younger than age 7, the Eustachian tube is shorter and more horizontally positioned, so the fluid takes longer to drain. The build-up can press on the eardrum, causing pain that is especially noticeable to kids when they lay down, breastfeed or suck on a bottle.
What Causes Ear Infections In Toddlers
While ear infections can happen to anyone at any age, they tend to be more frequent in younger children due to the fact that their eustachian tubes the tubes that connect the middle ear to the back of the throat are shorter, more horizontal, and narrower than in older kids and adults. This makes it easier for the eustachian tubes to get blocked, causing a build-up in fluid behind the ear drum, which in turn results in pressure and pain.
Ear infections tend to occur at the tail end of an illness like a cold or sinus infection, and can also be caused by seasonal allergies and acid reflux. Enlarged adenoids can also interfere with the eustachian tube, causing ear infections to occur more frequently.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Ear Pain From Water
What Causes Ear Infections
When my first son got an ear infection when he was a few months old, I took him to our family doctor for relief. Ear infections are the second most common childhood illness and they can be serious if they dont resolve, so I wanted to be proactive. Both of my parents have hearing loss, so I wanted to be especially careful to protect his eardrums.
To my surprise, our doctor suggested warm compresses, extra nursing, a few drops of breastmilk in the ear and extra sleep for a few days before trying anything stronger. He explained that not every ear infection needs antibiotics. In fact, he said most resolve on their own with proper support and the overuse of antibiotics can actually cause bigger problems for the child later on as bacteria become increasingly resistant to them.
In hindsight, I am so grateful for a doctor who took this approach and spent the time educating me. We moved to a new town since then, so when our other child was struck with an ear infection last year, I didnt have that doctors sage advice. This time, the child wasnt nursing so breastmilk wasnt an option. The local doc couldnt even get us in for a few days. I considered urgent care but decided to research and try some natural remedies for a day unless things got worse.
Ear infections can be caused by swimming, something lodged in the ear, or other external factors.
Signs And Symptoms Of Ear Infections In Children:
- Ear pain, especially when lying down
- Tugging or pulling at an ear
- Trouble sleeping
- Sore throat
When to see a Doctor?
It is important to get an accurate diagnosis and rule out any other severe conditions. You should call your childs doctor if:
- Symptoms last for more than a day
- Your baby is less than 6 months old with any of the above symptoms
- Ear pain is severe
- Your infant or toddler is sleepless or irritable after a cold or other upper respiratory infection
- You observe a discharge or fluid from the ear
Your doctor will advise medications or suggest going with the home remedies depending on the severity of the infection. The latest guidelines from the American Association of Pediatrics suggest that doctors should focus on pain management, not antibiotics, for ear infections. This is because ear infections often go away on their own, and the overuse of antibiotics could lead to antibiotic-resistant infections.
Also Check: When Can Babies Learn Sign Language
Elderberry Syrup & Tea
According to Penn State Medical Center, elderberry may have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Among the various natural remedies for ear infections, it is a favorite with those who want to support the immune system naturally.
How Can I Tell If My Child Has An Ear Infection
Most ear infections happen to children before theyve learned how to talk. If your child isnt old enough to say My ear hurts, here are a few things to look for:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Fussiness and crying
- Fluid draining from the ear
- Clumsiness or problems with balance
- Trouble hearing or responding to quiet sounds
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Rid Of Tinnitus Naturally
Massage With Or Without Essential Oils
Massaging the outside of the ear and face/jaw/neck area with a carrier oil and if you have them on hand a few drops of essential oil is thought to encourage good circulation and facilitate normal drainage.
Oils often recommended for this purpose are tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, oregano, chamomile, peppermint and thyme. Please keep in mind that some oils should not be introduced until child reaches a certain age. Ive created a guide to diluting essential oils and a list of child-friendly essential oils, but for this specific purpose here are some recommendations based on the oils mentioned above:
Oils considered safe for children ages 3 months 6 years:
Dilution recommendations: For children ages 6-15, the recommended dilution ratio is 1.5%
Special cases: Eucalyptus & Peppermint
Both of these oils are generally not recommended for use with young children due to their high concentration of 1.8 cineole, which can sometimes acts negatively on the temperature receptors of childrens lungs and cause slowed breathing. However, there are exceptions to this guideline, which you can read about here.
Home Remedies For Toddler Ear Infections
Ear infections are common in children. Five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by the time they are three years old, and ear infections are the most common reason for childhood doctor’s visits.
Common signs of ear infections in children include:
- Ear pain
- Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
- Clumsiness/problems with balance
- Fluid draining from the ear
Because of concerns surrounding antibiotic resistance, many doctors are avoiding prescribing antibiotics for ear infections unless absolutely necessary.
Treatment is usually more focused on pain relief, which can be managed effectively at home in most cases.
You May Like: How To Clean Baby Ear Piercing
Johns Hopkins Pediatric Otolaryngology
Our pediatric otolaryngologists are committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive care for children with ear, nose, and throat conditions. As part of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, you have access to all the specialized resources of a children’s hospital. Your child will also benefit from experts who use advanced techniques to treat both common and rare conditions.
What You Can Do To Soothe A Cold Or Ear Infection:
- Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever and head pressure.
- Try a cool-mist humidifier or shower steam to loosen congestion.
- Try over-the-counter saline drops to clear the nose.
- Consider sinus rinses or devices to remove mucus from young childrens noses.
- For children older than age 1, honey in warm water can soothe a cough.
- For older children, an extra pillow under their head can help them sleep better.
Don’t Miss: Why Does It Sound Like Water Is In My Ear
Special Massage For Earaches
Earaches can be caused by things going on in the throat, jaw, or mouth. A congested lymphatic system can create swelling that causes the earache. Lymphatic drainage massage helps relieve congestion and pressure to alleviate ear pain.
Check out these videos on how to give yourself a lymphatic massage:
When To Call The Doctor For An Ear Infection
Some symptoms of an inner ear infection can be the same as a stroke. If you have vomiting, headache, vision changes, fever, weakness in one side of your body, slurred speech or are unable to walk, seek medical care right away.
Infections involving high fever, discharge or bleeding from the ear canal, headache, vomiting, dizziness, loss of hearing, or severe pain should be seen by a doctor. A doctor should see most people with an inner ear infection.
Read Also: Can Smoking Cause Ringing In The Ears
What Causes An Ear Infection
An ear infection usually is caused by bacteria and often begins after a child has a sore throat, cold, or other upper respiratory infection. If the upper respiratory infection is bacterial, these same bacteria may spread to the middle ear if the upper respiratory infection is caused by a virus, such as a cold, bacteria may be drawn to the microbe-friendly environment and move into the middle ear as a secondary infection. Because of the infection, fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
The ear has three major parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The outer ear, also called the pinna, includes everything we see on the outsidethe curved flap of the ear leading down to the earlobebut it also includes the ear canal, which begins at the opening to the ear and extends to the eardrum. The eardrum is a membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.
The middle earwhich is where ear infections occuris located between the eardrum and the inner ear. Within the middle ear are three tiny bones called the malleus, incus, and stapes that transmit sound vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. The bones of the middle ear are surrounded by air.
The inner ear contains the labyrinth, which help us keep our balance. The cochlea, a part of the labyrinth, is a snail-shaped organ that converts sound vibrations from the middle ear into electrical signals. The auditory nerve carries these signals from the cochlea to the brain.
Consider Tea Tree Oil
A second good natural remedy for ear infections, both in adults and children, is tea tree oil. This woody scented essential oil is used for a variety of reasons because of its antiseptic benefits. In fact, its been one of those herbal remedies for infections and wounds throughout the centuries around the world. Its still used in Eastern medicine, even today.
Dont put the essential oil directly into the ear. There are some people allergic to this, and it can cause damage to the ear. You want to apply it around the ear instead.
Dilute the essential oil instead of applying directly to the skin. Use coconut oil for the best results, as coconut oil also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Whatever the reason for the infection, you will cure it with this method.
The benefit of tea tree oil is that you can use it with a perforated ear drum since youre not applying it into the ear. Massage it into the skin for the best results.
You May Like: Can Vacuum Cleaners Cause Hearing Loss
Inhalation Of Eucalyptus Vapor
Vapor inhalation can effectively relieve pain caused by otitis media. Add some eucalyptus or mint leaves to a bowl of boiling water, put a towel over the babys head and try to inhale the vapors. Repeat it two or three times a day. Its very important that you follow these guidelines to prevent burns:
- Firstly, make sure the bowl of hot water is on a level, sturdy surface, and cant be knocked over.
- Also, dont shake or lean on the bowl.
- Avoid allowing the steam to make contact with your eyes. Your eyes should be closed and directed away from the steam.
- Finally, keep the bowl of hot water out of reach of children or pets.
Tips On How To Relieve An Ear Infection In Babies And Children
18 July, 2022
Having an ear infection is common in babies and children. In fact, nearly half of them get at least one ear infection during their first year of life. Also, its the most common cause, besides tonsillitis, for which a pediatrician would prescribe antibiotics to a child.
Most colds and throat infections take place around winter. Furthermore, children with allergy problems and who live around smokers are more likely to have them.
Recommended Reading: How To Turn On Hearing Aid Mode On Iphone
What Happens If My Child Keeps Getting Ear Infections
To keep a middle ear infection from coming back, it helps to limit some of the factors that might put your child at risk, such as not being around people who smoke and not going to bed with a bottle. In spite of these precautions, some children may continue to have middle ear infections, sometimes as many as five or six a year. Your doctor may want to wait for several months to see if things get better on their own but, if the infections keep coming back and antibiotics arent helping, many doctors will recommend a surgical procedure that places a small ventilation tube in the eardrum to improve air flow and prevent fluid backup in the middle ear. The most commonly used tubes stay in place for six to nine months and require follow-up visits until they fall out.
If placement of the tubes still doesnt prevent infections, a doctor may consider removing the adenoids to prevent infection from spreading to the eustachian tubes.
Hot Salt Wrapped In A Cloth
Salt is one of the most readily available home remedies for dealing with pain in the ear. All you have to do here is take a small cup of salt, heat it properly, then wrap it in a cloth and seal the end of the cloth by tying a knot.
Now, lay down and place the cloth with hot salt on the affected ear for a couple of minutes .
Repeat this process a few times daily to relieve you from the pain and swelling in the ear. Alternatively, you could also use rice in place of salt for the same purpose.
Recommended Reading: Can Excessive Ear Wax Cause Vertigo
Earache Remedies For Kids
Since children are especially prone to ear infections, given their smaller eustachian tubes, there are some medications on the market specifically for earaches in kids. Drugstores sell pain-relieving eardrops that can help your child feel better if their earache is due to a cold or flu, swimmers ear, or allergies.
In addition, childrens formula acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used as earache remedies to help ease discomfort from inflammation in kids 6 months or older. Be sure to consult your childs pediatrician before giving an kind ofanti-inflammatory medication and avoid aspirin for children under 16.