Are Home Remedies for Ear Infections Effective?
How To Treat Ear Infections From Home
Written by Sylvia Zakusilov, NP - Genexa Healthcare Provider & Partner on December 3, 2021
Medically reviewed by Camille Freking, MS Pharmacology
Ear infections can be incredibly painful. If you’ve ever had one, you no doubt know how rough they can be. While antibiotics are often needed to clear up infections, that’s not necessarily the case with ear aches. This is because most ear infections heal on their own.
Knowing this, you’re likely wondering if there are effective home remedies for ear infections. Fortunately, there are some helpful tips you can employ from home to assist you in treating your ear infection.
But what if you have a young child with an ear infection? Can you treat them from home, too? Continue reading to learn more about effective home remedies for ear infections.
Ear Infections and Kids
Kids are prone to getting ear infections more so than adults. Even toddlers are likely to get an ear infection before reaching the age of three. The main reason for this is due to having shorter Eustachian tubes.
If you have a little one, it’s important to know which home remedies you can turn to when they aren’t feeling well. Thankfully, many of the remedies for adults are effective to use with children. In the section below, you will learn how you can safely treat your child’s ear infection.
Both cold and warm compresses can play a significant role in relieving your child’s pain and discomfort from an ear infection. To use a compress, simply hold it against your child’s ear for anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes.
You can also alternate between hot and cold compresses to give your little one relief from an ear infection. Adults likewise can utilize this method to great effect. But even better, kids stand to get the most benefit, so don’t hesitate to use a compress the next time a pesky ear infection rears its ugly head.
Hydrogen peroxide is perhaps one of the most well-known home remedies for treating an ear infection. It’s been used for years to help clean out the ears and is often relied on to prevent swimmer’s ear. It comes as no surprise, then, that peroxide may help relieve an ear infection.
You want to be careful not to use too much, especially in children. To apply hydrogen peroxide to your child’s ear canal, simply put a small amount on a Q-Tip and dab it around the area. Just be sure that the peroxide doesn’t get in their ear.
By applying hydrogen peroxide, it will help keep unwanted bacteria from entering your child’s ear.
One of the most helpful things you can do during an ear infection is to relieve pressure in your ear canal. The same holds true for children, so you want to try to get them to do neck exercises when an ear infection is present. In doing so, it may help to relieve pressure and possibly pain.
Your child needs to rotate their neck in order for this method to work, as it will help to provide the best results. To perform neck rotation exercises, begin by having your child sit up straight. Standing up straight works, too, but sitting will help your child stay stationary just in case there are any balance issues.
Next, they need to rotate their neck so that it is parallel with their right shoulder, and hold it there for about 10 seconds. Then, switch to the left side and perform the same action.
When both sides are complete, have them re-center their head and raise their shoulders as if trying to touch their ears with them. Hold this position for about 10 seconds, then release.
Do these exercises several times throughout the day, as this may relieve pain and discomfort from ear infections.
Mullein is an oil that comes from mullein plant flowers. It’s shown to be an effective tool in relieving pain caused by ear infections. You can pick up mullein at many health food stores in the form of a tincture or as specialty ear drops.
To apply, simply follow the recommended dosage. Both tinctures and ear drops include a handy dropper that makes it easy to administer mullein.
Garlic oil is known for its antiviral properties. It also has antimicrobial and antifungal qualities. And unlike hydrogen peroxide, you can apply garlic oil drops directly into the ear canal. Because of the aforementioned properties, garlic oil is sometimes effective in killing viruses and bacteria responsible for ear infections.
If you already have some garlic cloves in the house and want to get a jump on treatment, you can make your own garlic oil. Simply soak the cloves in warm olive oil and apply the mixture to your child’s infected ear.
Vitamin D is notable for helping to boost the immune system, which is a big deal when you’re trying to fight off infection. What’s more, a body that has a good level of vitamin D is far less likely to develop an ear infection compared to a body with a low vitamin D level.
Vitamin D comes in many forms, such as capsules, tablets, supplements, or in certain drinks. Before an ear infection has a chance to strike, work toward building your vitamin D level. Testing from your child’s pediatrician will determine whether their vitamin D level is sufficient or if it needs improvement.
When you think of chiropractic care, it’s normal to think about adjustments to the spine. But it can also help relieve muscles around the ear that have become tightened. When these muscles are adjusted by a chiropractor, it can help drain any trapped fluid in the ear.
Chiropractic care in children is understandably a touchy subject for many parents. But if you’re open to this method to bring your child relief from a painful ear infection, you may find it to be beneficial in reducing symptoms.
Ginger has long been favored for its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger juice or specialty ginger oil can help reduce painful swelling brought on by an ear infection. However, the application is different than that of garlic oil in that ginger cannot be administered directly into the ear canal. Instead, you want to apply it to the outer area of the ear canal.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar might prove useful in treating an ear infection. This is because its acetic acid content is antibacterial. To administer apple cider vinegar at home, mix it with equal parts warm water. It’s also best if you have a dropper handy to administer it.
When ready, apply just a few drops to the infected ear. If you don’t have a dropper, prepare your solution and dip a Q-Tip in it. Then, have your child tilt their head to the side and let a few drops drip around the ear canal.
Be sure that your child holds this position in order to allow the drops to soak into their ear. If your little one is suffering from a double ear infection, repeat the same steps on the other ear. However, it’s important to wait a few minutes between treating your ears, as you don’t want the drops from one side to leak out when you treat the ear on the opposite side.
Sleep With Ear Facing Up
When you have an ear infection, it’s natural to want to sleep with the infected ear facing down. After all, this will help the ear drain, right? On the contrary, sleeping with your ear against your pillow can cause you even more trouble.
When you sleep with your ear facing up, you’re less likely to experience as much pain throughout the night. As such, it’s important to have your child do this before they fall asleep.
Many drug companies like to put artificial inactive ingredients in their products. Instead, it’s essential to find real medicine made clean - Medicine made with the same active ingredients yu need, but without the articial ones you don't. Since your little one is likely to be in pain, an organic pain reliever can do wonders for them.
Ear infections can be scary, both for you and your child. But thanks to these home remedies and natural medicine, you can help relieve the symptoms of ear infections. Families everywhere can feel at ease with these effective alternatives.
Ditch the artificial ingredients in your medicine cabinet and give these options a try!