Kitchen remedies: earache

Earaches and ear infections make children (& adults!) miserable. They are painful and often escalate quickly, so a child may seem perfectly well one minute and be cranky and in pain the next.

There are some steps you can take at home that can calm earache pretty quickly. Note if there is fluid coming from the ear, the pain is getting worse, or you think it might be due to more than a simple infection (for example, you think something might be stuck in there), please see your GP.

1. Heat & rest – a wheat bag or a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel can bring relief. The child should lie down with the sore ear facing up, and the wheat bag or hot water bottle covering it. After 10 minutes, get them to roll over so the affected ear faces down, and rest their ear on the warm wheat bag or hot water bottle.

2. Garlic infused olive oil – put a pot of water on to boil and rest a heat proof bowl in it. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and 2 cloves of fresh garlic, quartered. Heat gently for about 10 minutes. Leave it to cool until it is room temperature and then apply to the affected ear using a dropper. Make sure you test it first to see if it’s cool enough – applying to your wrist is a good temperature test. As an antimicrobial, garlic is excellent for stopping an infection in its tracks. If you can get hold of some dried mullein, this is a great addition as it dulls the pain and provides comfort. Combined with a hot water bottle and rest, I usually only have to give my kids one dose of garlic and/or mullein oil to nip an earache in the bud.

3. Massage – massaging in a downward direction behind the ear, and from the front of the ear towards the cheek, can help to drain fluid from the ear. Use a firm but gentle touch, and teach your child to do this for themselves as well.

These 3 simple tips can help to ease the pain of earaches. Usually they take affect rapidly – I would expect improvements within a few hours. If you see no improvement, or fluid is draining from the ear, please consult your GP.

If your child suffers from recurrent ear infections, they may need a more comprehensive approach to support their immune system. Naturopathy is a great idea! Consider booking a consult to see how your child can be supported using diet and lifestyle approaches.

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