Ear infections are very common. In fact, ear infections are the most common reason parents take their children to a doctor. 3 out of 4 kids develop an ear infection before they turn 3 years old. Adults are also prone to ear infections albeit infrequently when compared to children. Ear infections are mostly caused by bacteria or viruses that attack the ear especially the middle ear.
The most common form of ear infections is called otitis media. It is caused by the inflammation and infection of the middle ear. This causes the tubes, inside the ears, to be clogged with mucus and fluids.
Other major causes of ear infections include; nutritional deficiencies, tobacco smoke, infected or overgrown adenoids, genetics, internal injuries, ear wax accumulation, fetal alcohol syndrome, environmental allergies, food allergies, and upper respiratory infections.
Common symptoms of ear infections include; pain in the affected ear, balance difficulties, headache, sleeping difficulties, fluid draining from the ear, poor response to sounds, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and tugging of the ear.
An ear infection can affect any segment of the ear i.e. these infections can affect the outer part, mid part, or inner part of the ear. However, an infection affecting the inner part of the ear tends to be the most severe.
It is important to treat an ear infection promptly in order to prevent severe complications such as damaging or rupturing of the eardrum. Furthermore, leaving an ear infection untreated could lead to future recurrence or deafness. However, it is worthy of note that ear infections often go away on their own.
Below are home remedies and natural treatments for ear infections;
Garlic helps in killing microbes naturally which proves to be great in relieving an ear infection. You may use garlic in different remedies. Heat 2 tbsp of mustard oil or sesame oil in a pan and add 2 cloves of garlic to it. Cook it until the garlic turns brown. Filter the solution and put a little amount of it in the infected ear. Make sure the temperature is bearable before you put it in your ear.
You may also add garlic cloves to boiling water and let it boil for another 4-5 minutes. Crush the cooked garlic and add a little amount of salt to it. Wrap it in a piece of cloth and place it over the infected ear.
2. Olive Oil
Usually, the wax inside the ear becomes the breeding ground for bacteria and fungi which leads to an infection. This obstructs the eustachian tubes. The blockage can be cleared using olive oil.
For this remedy, take some olive oil in a bowl and warm it slightly. Put a little amount of the oil, while it is warm and not hot, in the affected ear. It will help in softening and dissolving the wax which can then be removed using a cotton swab. However, you should be very careful while putting a swab inside your ear. Do not extend it too far as it can cause damage to the eardrum.
Salt is widely used as an effective home remedy for treating an ear infection. Put a cup of salt in a pan and heat it for some minutes. Then, put it in a piece of cloth and tie it into a small bag. When the temperature of the bag becomes bearable, place it on the affected ear while your head is tilted. This remedy would relieve the pain to a great extent while the heat would draw the fluid out of the ear to reduce any swelling. You may also use rice instead of salt.
Basil has high therapeutic properties which may help in healing numerous ailments. It also has an antibacterial effect which helps in killing the infection-causing bacteria from the ear. Take 4-5 fresh basil leaves and crush them to obtain the juice. Then, apply it to the area around the infected ear. Make sure you do not put it in the ear canal.
5. Warm Water Bottle
Applying heat to the ear infected with a bacteria or fungi will not only help in relieving pain but also inhibit the micro-organism’s growth. Prepare a warm water bottle and apply the heat to the affected ear. You may also use a heating pad. A washcloth soaked with warm water is also helpful in applying heat in a gentle way. However, avoid applying too much heat and for a long period of time. Do this remedy for 4-5 minutes, take a break and again apply the heat.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV helps in relieving an ear infection in a fast and effective way. Dilute ACV with an equal amount of alcohol or water and dip a cotton ball in the solution. Apply it to the ear as you place an earplug. Let it stay for 5 minutes and remove it thereafter. Then, lie down with your infected ear downwards to let the excess solution come out. Apply warm air with the help of a hair dryer to remove moisture from the ear. You may also use white vinegar in place of ACV.
This readily available ingredient may help in relieving swelling and pain in a great way. Onion’s high medicinal properties promote quick healing of the infected ear. Cut an onion into small pieces and cook it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Then, strain its juice and put some drops in the affected ear. Wait for a couple of minutes and drain it out by tilting your head to the other side.
8. Tea Tree Oil
The powerful antibacterial action of tea tree oil can be beneficial in eliminating a bacterial infection of the ear. In a bowl add olive oil (2 tbsp), tea tree oil (3 drops), apple cider vinegar (1 tsp) and colloidal silver (1 tsp). Mix all the ingredients well and warm it slightly. Lie on the bed with the infected ear facing upwards. Then, put the mixture, using a clean and dry dropper, into the infected ear. Let the solution stay in your ear for 5 minutes and then turn to the other side to let the solution drain out in a towel. Do this remedy 2-3 times in a day for two days.
9. Hydrogen Peroxide
The antimicrobial properties of hydrogen peroxide make it an effective home remedy for ear infection. Hydrogen peroxide has a strong ability to break the wax, thereby reducing pain and swelling. Take 3% hydrogen peroxide and dilute it with equal parts of hot water. Put some drops of this solution in the infected ear and wait for 10 minutes. Then, turn your head to drain the liquid out of your ear.
10. Mullein Flower Oil
The oil obtained from mullein flower is effective in treating respiratory conditions. It is also useful in relieving ear pain due to its strong analgesic properties. Put some mullein oil in a cotton ball and place it on your ear for 8-10 minutes. Drain out thereafter. Do this several times whenever you feel pain and discomfort.
Ginger aids in reducing inflammation and relieves ear infections naturally. Extract some juice of ginger and apply it to the outer ear canal. You may also prepare a ginger oil by waring ginger in a carrier oil (such as olive oil). Make sure you do not put it inside your ear directly.
Radish is another great option for an ear infection. It contains various healing compounds that are helpful in treating numerous disorders such as high blood pressure, constipation, dehydration and even fever. It is also beneficial in treating an ear infection. Take mustard oil (2 tbsp) in a bowl and add 2-3 pieces of radish in it. Heat it for 10 minutes and filter the oil. Store the oil in a container and put a little amount of it in the affected ear with the help of a dropper. This would help reduce pain.
13. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil has a high potential to cure inflammation and reduce pain. It also kills the infection-causing bacteria effectively. Take a little amount of oregano oil and rub it on the area surrounding the affected ear. Do not wipe it out and do not put it into your ear. Also, avoid its use if you take medicines for thinning blood.
14. Peppermint Oil And Leaves
The inflammation relieving action of the peppermint oil may help in dealing with the pain associated with an ear infection effectively. Extract some juice by crushing fresh leaves of peppermint and put it in your ear using a dropper. Peppermint oil can also be applied near the opening of the infected ear. However, avoid putting the oil directly into the ear canal.
15. Castor Oil
Castor oil not only helps in breaking down the wax that blocks the ear but also fights inflammation in an incredible way. Castor oil also inhibits the fungi and bacteria that cause infection. Warm a little amount of castor oil in a bowl and put some drops of it in your ear. Do this before you go to bed and sleep with the infected ear up. Plug the ear with a little cotton wool. Clean the ear using an earbud in the morning and repeat this remedy daily.
16. Rubbing Alcohol
Gently put 3-4 drops of rubbing alcohol in your infected ear. Being a disinfectant, it kills the infection-causing microbes. Rubbing alcohol also dries out the water present in the ear that is causing pain. If there is a burning sensation after pouring rubbing alcohol, consult a doctor. Repeat the remedy 2-3 times in a day.
17. Neck Exercises
A pressure in the canal of the ear may also lead to ear pain. This condition can be relieved by neck exercises. Sit in a straight position and rotate your neck slowly towards one side to make your head parallel with the shoulder. Then, rotate your head to the opposite side. Also lift your shoulders to touch your ears. Repeat these steps several times to release the pressure and relieve pain.
18. Change Sleeping Position
Changing your position while sleeping through long hours may help in relieving the pain caused by the ear infection. Avoid sleeping in a position that may aggravate the pain. Instead, keep your infected ear raised upwards as this position could help relieve your ear pain. Sleeping with your head elevated may also prove to be beneficial.
19. Sweet Oil And Garlic
Sweet oil is another name for olive oil which is derived from olives. It helps in dissolving the deposited wax and relieves the pain efficiently. Simply warm some chopped garlic cloves in the sweet oil until the garlic turns brown. Strain the oil and leave it to cool a bit. Then, pour a few drops in your ear. Lie down with the infected ear up and stay in this position for 10-15 minutes. Then, clean off the draining fluid with a cotton ball.
20. Mango Leaf Juice
Extract some juice from mango leaf by crushing it. Warm the juice and put it in your ear. It will help in reducing pain to a great extent. It would also relieve the pain almost instantly. Do this remedy 2-3 times in a day to fight the infection and relieve pain.
21. Breast Milk
Breast milk is an excellent remedy for ear infection in newborn babies. It contains antibodies that promote healing in a natural way. It also relieves inflammation and swelling from the baby’s ear. Take some breast milk in a dropper and put it near the opening of the ear canal of your baby. Do this after every few hours until there is a complete relief.
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