An ear infection is usually the result of a viral or bacterial infection that affects the middle ear. The ear consists of three main sections: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. All these parts of the ear have different functions, and when any of them is infected, your hearing is affected to varying extents depending on the infection. As mentioned above, typical infections usually affect the middle ear. this part of the ear is made up of a sac located near the eardrum, and which is filled with air. Owing to the nature of the infection, this condition is more prevalent in kids.
There are different factors that contribute to ear infections including excessive accumulation of wax, infections that affect the respiratory system as well as trauma to the head. Some of the symptoms of an ear infection include pain and inflammation in the affected ear, headache, impaired hearing for a period if time as well as fluid drainage from the affected ear.
Kids will tug at their ears as a sign that they feel pain, and will often be unable to get a good night’s sleep. Ear infections must be treated immediately to avoid complications that worsen the condition. If left untreated, the infection will damage the ear and may even cause deafness. For this reason, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. In the time being, you can always use some of the home remedies listed below to ease the pain and allow for speedy clearing of the infection.
1. Olive Oil:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 3 Drops of olive oil, a dropper, warm bath and Q-tips.
Olive oil is used in the treatment of ear infections, thanks to its ability to halt the increase of bacterial/fungal population in the middle ear. If left unchecked, the proliferation of these microorganisms can easily cause the Eustachian tubes in the ear to block. The best way to prevent this is with the use of olive oil. The oil is warmed in a bath to ensure that it eases the pain and keeps the inflammation in check.
- Place the olive oil in a warm bath to heat for 5 minutes or so.
- Never heat the oil directly as it destroys the oil’s structure.
- Using the dropper, put 3 drops of the warm oil in the infected ear, making sure your head is tilted sideways.
- Remain in this position for 2 minutes to allow the oil to release its healing properties.
- Tilt your head in the opposite direction to allow for the oil to drain. You may use Q-tips to get rid of the wax debris that pours out. As expected, you need to be very careful with the use of the Q-tips; make sure you do not insert too far as this could cause irreversible damage to the ear.
- Use this remedy daily until the infection clears.
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 2 Cloves of fresh garlic, 4 teaspoons of mustard oil, a strainer and a dropper. The other option is to use 3 garlic cloves, water, salt and a clean towel.
Garlic is a time-tested remedy for a host of infections that affect different parts of the body. When used to treat ear infections, the garlic’s antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties make it a reliable remedy. The presence of sulfur compounds in the garlic eliminate both the fungi and bacteria, making it easy to treat the infection. There are two key ways in which you can use this remedy: the first is by using oil to prepare the remedy while the second option involves boiling the cloves in water. It also helps to add garlic to your daily diet, thanks to its healing properties.
Garlic preparation using Oil:
- Peel and clean the cloves before cutting into small pieces. If you want, you may grind to form a paste that will ease the preparation process.
- Place the garlic in a pan and add the mustard oil.
- Turn the heat on and allow the mixture to cook until it has a blackish appearance, but does not burn.
- Pass the oil mixture through the strainer and allow to cool.
- Once the garlic mixture has attained a comfortable temperature, use a dropper to put 4 drops in the affected ear.
Garlic preparation using Water:
- Remove the papery peels from the garlic cloves and chop into fine pieces. You may grind to get garlic paste if you so prefer.
- Put the garlic paste in a pan and add water before boiling the mixture for 5 minutes.
- Add a pinch of salt to the mixture and transfer to a clean towel.
- Tilt your head sideways and place the towel containing the mixture over the infected ear for 5 minutes.
- Use this remedy thrice daily until the infection clears and the pain eases.
3. Hot Water Compress:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Water bottle and hot water. Alternatively, get a lean towel and hot water in a bowl .
The essence of using this remedy is to ease the pain and inflammation with the application of warmth to the affected ear. This has a soothing effect on the ear, while at the same time reduces the chances that the microorganisms will flourish in the ear. There are two ways in which you can apply heat to the infected ear: either using a hot water bottle or a hot compress. Note that the use of the term ‘hot’ in this context is meant to indicate that the temperatures are above warm, but comfortable enough, so this tends to vary with individuals.
- Simply fill the bottle with the hot water and lean forward so that you can place the bottle against the infected ear. Do this for five minutes, take a break and repeat.
- Soak the clean towel in the hot water and squeeze the excess amount. Proceed to place the compress on the affected ear for five minutes.
- Avoid using the compress for very long periods of time. As with the procedure above, you are advised to use the remedy by taking breaks in between until the compress cools down.
- Use both remedies as often as required.
4. Raw Onion:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1 Medium sized onion, a knife, microwave, manual juice extractor and a dropper. Lemon juice (optional).
Onions, just like garlic cloves, are rich in antimicrobial and anti fungal properties. These healing properties make the onion an ideal home remedy for the treatment of ear infections. you will need a microwave to stimulate juice production as well as a manual extractor or you to get the juice. Follow the steps below to make the best use of the onion. For those who are concerned about the lingering smell of the onion, the lemon wedges are included for this purpose.
- Peel the onion to get rid of the flaky external layer and clean well.
- Cut the onion into small pieces and place in the microwave for 2 minutes or so.
- Turn off the microwave and allow the chopped onion to cool.
- Extract the onion juice and collect in a bowl.
- Use the dropper to place 3 drops of the onion juice in the affected ear.
- Make sure your head is tilted in such a way that the juice does not pour out.
- Remain in this position for a few minutes and then tilt your head in the opposite direction to allow the juice to drain.
- Use this remedy at least once daily until the infected ear recovers fully.
- If you find the smell of onions repulsive, make sure you rub some lemon juice on your hands.
5. Tea Tree Oil:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 3 Drops of tea tree oil, 3 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of Apple cider vinegar, dropper and a warm bath.
Tea tree oil is a popular remedy in the treatment of infections across the body, not forgetting that which affects the ear. When added to the ear in drop form, the oil prevents the spread of infection by halting the proliferation of the microorganisms in the ear. Olive oil is added for its benefits mentioned above, while Apple cider vinegar provides a medium for the remedy. You will need a warm bath to warm the mixture for a soothing effect on the infected ear.
- Mix all of the ingredients in a shallow bowl and stir.
- Transfer the bowl to a warm bath to heat.
- You must never heat the mixture directly to avoid destroying the respective healing properties which often diminishes the remedy’s healing properties.
- Use the dropper to place 3 drops of the remedy in the infected ear.
- Leave the mixture in the ear for a couple of minutes, and then tilt your head in the opposite direction to drain it.
- Use this remedy thrice daily to get rid of the infection.
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Cup of salt, a pan/microwave, string/rubber band and a clean washcloth.
Salt is a simple but effective remedy, and has the advantage of been easy to get in the home. Salt works by draining the excessive fluid from the ear. Since the remedy is warmed before use, the salt has a soothing effect on the ear. For quick recovery, this remedy ought to be used severally every day.
- Place the salt in a pan and heat over low heat. Alternatively, microwave the salt for 5 minutes.
- Once the salt is hot, place it on a clean washcloth. A clean sock will work just as well.
- Tie the ends of the washcloth/sock using a string or rubber band.
- Lie down in a comfortable place so that the affected ear comes into contact with the pillow.
- Instead of the pillow, however, you will place the warm salt pack.
- Take breaks every 5 minutes or so.
7. Breast Milk:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 3 Drops of breast milk and dropper.
There is a reason why breast milk is recommended for babies; it is packed with antibodies that not only boost the immune system, but also help ward off infections. Long used for the home treatment of mild burns and cuts, breast milk has also been recommended for the treatment of ear infections. The temperature of freshly pumped breast milk also helps soothe the ear. The best thing about this remedy is that it may be used as often as every 2 hours.
- Using a dropper, place 3 drops of the breast milk in the infected ear.
- Repeat as often as you need to.
In addition to the remedies listed above, there are preventive measures that you can take to reduce the likelihood of getting an ear infection. these include:
i) Regular washing of hands to curb the spread of the infection.
ii) Using home remedies to treat the common cold as this tends to make the ear infection worse.
iii) Avoiding the insertion of foreign bodies in the ear when cleaning. This is especially key for children as their curiosity sometimes gets the better of them.
Lastly, if the ear infection does not ease after a few days’ use of the natural remedies, you MUST see a doctor to prevent further complications.