To be honest, I didn’t know any home remedies for ear infections until a few weeks ago, when I needed it for the first time in my life.
But I think that the most important thing to know should have been how to prevent ear infections.
Ear infection is also known as otitis, and it is an inflammation that affects the ears. Depending on the affected area, we can distinguish three forms of otitis:
- Otitis Interna (or labyrinthitis, which affects the internal ear)
- Otitis Media (affects the middle ear)
- Otitis Externa (affects the outer ear, known as swimmer’s ear)
Otitis media is what is usually referred to as ear infection, middle ear infection or inner ear infection.
Ear pain and impaired hearing are the most common symptoms in all forms of otitis.
It is usually curable within weeks, even though no symptoms should be underestimated, given the real risk of complications, such as dizziness, deafness or perforated ear drum.
How to Prevent Ear Infections?
The following advice has the purpose of helping you recover from otitis and is all based on what most doctors and books suggest.
Of course, I am not here to replace your doctor or do his job, but until you can see him, try one of these natural ear infections remedies and see how it goes.
- Hot packs on the sore ear is a good remedy to alleviate the pain caused by an ear infection.
- In case of proven bacterial ear infection, you will probably have to take specific antibiotics.
- If you had infections before, when you swim you should use earplugs, especially to protect from an external ear infection.
- After swimming or after a shower, carefully dry your ears with a towel. Basically, don’t leave excess water in your ears that could infiltrate inside.
- When you sleep, try to raise your mattress or sleep with your head a little bit raised to allow water to drain out of your ears (you probably already know that babies with an ear infection should not be positioned flat in bed…besides…they would probably cry if you did).
- Truly an ear infection remedy: apply drops for an ear infection (I remember my mom using them on me when I was a kid and woke up at night with ear pain). Drops are especially recommended for those that easily form wax plugs.
- Another way to prevent ear infections is to drink plenty of fluids and swallow often. This helps stimulate the emptying of the Eustachian tube, accelerating the healing from otitis.
- If you swim, keeping your head outside the water is a good tip to prevent ear infections. People prone to ear infections should avoid swimming under water.
Here’s some useful info that you should know in order to cure and also prevent ear infections:
- Don’t use Q-tips for ear hygiene. It can push the wax into the ear canal and form a plug. The cleaning with Q-tips should be done with extra care.
- Don’t put any objects in your ear (you’re smart enough of course, but watch your baby). No fingers as well, you don’t want to introduce more germs.
- Don’t scratch the ear to avoid more infections.
- Don’t go swimming if you have ear infections.
- If you’re taking antibiotics, don’t drink milk or dairy products, as they can inhibit the action of the medicine.
- No aspirin for kids under 12! Watch out as it could cause real damage like the Reye’s syndrome, liver disease, and brain changes.
- No smoking, as it promotes infections. The same way, pollution can irritate the Eustachian tubes. Avoid smoking and polluted areas to prevent ear infections.
What to Eat
These are not actually home remedies for ear infections, but definitely good ideas:
- Yogurt with live lactic acid or probiotics to strengthen the immune system while on antibiotics therapy. Strengthening the immune system is a smart way to prevent ear infections.
- Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, as rich in antioxidants (vitamin C and E) can help prevent and also get rid of ear infections.
What to Avoid
There is no scientific evidence that relates certain foods with the worsening of ear infection symptoms.
Just follow some basic advice like I just wrote above.
To heal from ear infections, or at least to lower the side effects and symptoms, you can always take some Tylenol/Ibuprofen, Aspirin (not under age 12!).
If it’s bad enough, your doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics.
Surgery to drain excess fluids from the middle ear can be required in the worst case scenario, if everything else fails to help.
I realized that there is not a great knowledge on ear infections prevention around, and hopefully after reading this article you’ll be able to prevent ear infections next time!