Treatment for ear infection
Treatment for ear infections depends on age, the severity of the infection, the nature of the infection (is the infection a first-time infection, ongoing infection, or repeating infection), and if fluid remains in the middle ear for a long period of time.
Your healthcare provider will recommend medications to relieve your or your child’s pain and fever. If the ear infection is mild, depending on the age of the child, your healthcare provider may choose to wait a few days to see if the infection goes away on its own before prescribing an antibiotic.
Below are some of the most common treatments for ear infection:
Antibiotics are one of the medications for the treatment of ear infections, it may be prescribed if bacteria are thought to be the cause of the ear infection. Your healthcare provider may want to wait up to three days before prescribing antibiotics to see if a mild infection clears up on its own when the child is older. If your or your child’s ear infection is severe, antibiotics might be started right away.
Over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) can help relieve earache or fever. Pain-relieving eardrops can also be prescribed. These medications usually start to lessen the pain within a couple of hours. Your healthcare provider will recommend pain-relieving medications for you or your child and provide any additional instructions.
Never give aspirin to children. Aspirin can cause a life-threatening condition called Reye’s Syndrome.
Earaches tend to hurt more at bedtime. Using a warm compress on the outside of the ear may also help relieve pain. (This is not recommended for infants.)
Ear tubes (tympanostomy tubes)
Sometimes ear infections can be ongoing (chronic), frequently recurring or the fluid in the middle ear can even remain for months after the infection has cleared (otitis media with effusion). Most children will experience an ear infection by age 5 and some children may have frequent ear infections. Telltale Signs of an ear infection in a child can include pain inside the ear, a sense of fullness in the ear, muffled hearing, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, crying, irritability, and tugging at the ears (especially in very young children).
If your child has experienced frequent ear infections (three ear infections in six months or four infections in a year), had ear infections that weren’t resolved with antibiotics, or experienced hearing loss from fluid buildup behind the eardrum, you may be a candidate for ear tubes.
Ear tubes can provide immediate relief and are sometimes recommended for small children who are developing their speech and language skills.
What is an ear infection?
Around 75 percent of children will have at least one ear infection before they reach 3 years old. Ear infections are the most common reason that children visit doctors.
Ear infections are also known as glue ear, secretory otitis media, middle ear infection, or serous otitis media.
Infections in the ear are well understood, and their common occurrence means that research is frequently carried out. This article explains what is an ear infection, what causes ear infections, the symptoms of ear infections, and the treatment options available.
An ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection of the middle ear. This infection causes inflammation and the buildup of fluid within the internal spaces of the ear.
The middle ear is an air-filled space situated behind the eardrum. It contains vibrating bones that convert sound from outside of the ear into meaningful signals for the brain. Ear infections are painful because the inflammation and buildup of excess fluid increase pressure on the eardrum.
An ear infection can be acute or chronic. Chronic ear infections may permanently damage the middle ear. In many cases, ear infections clear up on their own. Your healthcare provider may recommend a medication to relieve pain. If the ear infection has worsened or not improved, your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic. In children younger than the age of two years, an antibiotic is usually needed for ear infections.
It’s important to see your healthcare provider make sure the ear infection has healed or if you or your child has ongoing pain or discomfort. Hearing problems and other serious effects can occur with ongoing ear infections, frequent infections, and when fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
Are ear infections contagious?
Are ear infections contagious? Is one of the frequently asked questions. Ear infections are not contagious or spread from one person to another, but the colds that result in ear infections are. Colds are spread when germs are released from the nose or mouth during coughing or sneezing. Anything that can reduce the spread of germs will help reduce ear infections.
Types of ear infections
Ear infections are generally divided into three major categories.
Acute otitis media (AOM)
- AOM is the most common and least serious form of ear infection. The middle ear becomes infected and swollen, and fluid is trapped behind the eardrum. Fever can also occur.
Otitis media with effusion (OME)
- After an ear infection has run its course, there may be some fluid left behind the eardrum. A person with OME may not experience symptoms, but a doctor will be able to spot the remaining fluid.
Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME)
- COME refers to fluid repeatedly returning to the middle ear, with or without an infection present. This leads to a reduced ability to fight other infections and has a negative impact on hearing ability.
What causes ear infections?
An ear infection occurs when one of your eustachian tubes becomes swollen or blocked, causing fluid to build up in your middle ear. Eustachian tubes are small tubes that run from each ear directly to the back of the throat.
Below are what causes ear infection:
- Sinus infections
- Excess mucus
- Infected or swollen adenoids (tissue near your tonsils that traps harmful bacteria and viruses)
- Changes in air pressure.
Symptoms of ear infections
A few of the common symptoms of ear infections include:
- Ear pain: This symptom is obvious in older children and adults. In infants too young to speak, look for signs of pain like rubbing or tugging ears, crying more than usual, trouble sleeping, acting fussy/irritable.
- Loss of appetite: This may be most noticeable in young children, especially during bottle feedings. Pressure in the middle ear changes as the child swallows, causing more pain and less desire to eat.
- Irritability: Any kind of continuing pain may cause irritability.
- Poor sleep: Pain may be worse when the child is lying down because the pressure in the ear may worsen.
- Fever: Ear infections can cause temperatures from 100° F (38 C) up to 104° F. Some 50% of children will have a fever with their ear infection.
- Drainage from the ear: Yellow, brown, or white fluid that is not earwax may seep from the ear. This may mean that the eardrum has ruptured (broken).
- Trouble hearing: Bones of the middle ear connect to the nerves that send electrical signals (as sound) to the brain. Fluid behind the eardrums slows down the movement of these electrical signals through the inner ear bones.
These symptoms of ear infection might persist or come and go. Symptoms may occur in one or both ears. Pain is usually more severe with a double ear infection (infection in both ears).
Chronic ear infection symptoms may be less noticeable than those of acute ear infections.
Children younger than 6 months who have fever or ear infection symptoms should see a doctor. Always seek medical attention if your child has a fever higher than 102°F (39°C) or severe ear pain.
Natural treatment for ear infections
Another treatment approach that is often considered is the natural treatment for ear infections. While natural treatment for ear infections is effective it causes no side effects.
There are many methods that used by naturopathic doctors as a natural treatment for ear infection. In this article, we list only the most effective and popular.
Home remedies for ear infection
Home remedies for ear infections are one of the approaches to use natural remedies for ear infections that have been proven to be effective with no side effects. It can also be achieved easily at home. Below are some most popular home remedies for ear infections:
Cold or warm compresses
- Both warm and cold compresses are effective home remedies for ear infections that can relieve pain from ear infections. Hold either a hot pad or cold washcloth against the ear for 10 to 15 minutes or alternate between hot and cold for an easy ear infection remedy, especially for children.
Neck exercises for ear infections
Neck exercises are another form of home remedy for ear infections that rotate the neck can help relieve pressure in the ear canal that’s caused by ear infections. Here’s how to do neck-rotation exercises:
- Sit or stand up straight.
- Rotate your neck to the right, so it’s parallel with your right shoulder. Hold for five to 10 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise on the left side.
- Raise your shoulders high like you’re trying to reach your earlobes with them. Hold for five to 10 seconds.
- Repeat these exercises throughout the day.
- Oil made from the flowers of the mullein plant has shown to be an effective pain reliever for ear infections. Mullein is available at most health food stores as a stand-alone tincture or as an ingredient in herbal ear drops.
- With antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, garlic oil ear drops can be applied to the ear canal to help kill bacteria or viruses that might be causing an ear infection. You can also soak crushed garlic cloves in warm olive oil to make your own garlic oil ear drops.
Herbs for ear infections – effective and popular natural treatment for ear infections.
Herbs for ear infections is another form of natural remedy for ear infections that have been proven to be effective.
Herbal teas that are used for ear infection home treatments are usually those that include herbs such as echinacea, ginger, or mint. There are also a number of other herbs that have anti-biotic, anti-microbial & expectorant properties. You usually take an equal amount of each selected herb, cover it with hot water, and let the mixture steep for about 5 to 10 minutes. Sip the herbal tea as you would any normal tea.
Herbal tinctures are also used as an ear infection home cure. Herbal tinctures are single herbs or a blend of herbs that have been specially blended and preserved in alcohol or vegetable glycerin for an extended time period. It is then placed in a dropper bottle. Herbal blends that are often used based on their anti-biotic properties are echinacea combined with Oregon grape root, and echinacea combined with goldenseal. These herbal tinctures may even be made as single blends. Herbal tinctures preserved with glycerin are great for people and babies, who have an aversion to pills. Their medicine is disguised by juice or other drinks.
Acupuncture for ear infection – an ancient Chinese treatment for ear infection
Acupuncture for ear infections is another natural remedy for ear infections that can help reduce pain and inflammation. Below are other benefits of acupuncture for ear infection:
- Improves drainage of fluid in the ear
- Mobilizes your immune system to fight back and overcome the infection
- Relieves the pain
Homeopathy for ear infection – #1 natural treatment for ear infection.
Homeopathy is based on the theory that “like cures like”. A substance that might produce some of the same symptoms as the disease is highly diluted and used in a homeopathic preparation. Homeopathy for ear infections is an effective treatment option for ear infections. Homeopathy for ear infections causes no side effects and is safe.
Below are the most common homeopathic remedies for ear infections:
- This homeopathic remedy for ear infections is the most commonly used remedy f especially if ear infections developed after or with a cold.
- This homeopathic remedy for ear infections can encourage the drainage of pus which can be cheesy smelling and thick.
- This remedy may encourage the eardrum to start releasing pusses from the Eustachian tubes. This is body healing. Pain should be reduced and the patient may fall asleep after a dose of this remedy. If this happens get in touch with your homeopath who can guide you through the rest of the healing process.
Natural treatment for ear infections is effective and safe. In the majority of cases, you may avoid antibiotics and steroids and get your ears healed naturally. It is important that you sick and advice from a medical professional instead of taking natural remedies for ear infections based on your own opinion. An ear infection is a serious medical condition and must be properly addressed.
For holistic evaluation and naturopathic treatment of ear infection contact Philadelphia Holistic Clinic to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tsan. You can also schedule an appointment by yourself online or by scanning the QR code below.