How to treat ear infections naturally - Aspire Natural Health

How to treat ear infections naturally

The ear, a complicated place

To understand how to treat ear infections, we first need to better understand the ear. The ear is divided into three parts:

  1. The outer ear – this is the fleshy part we’re used to seeing, that people put earrings into. It also include the ear canal the goes into your head.
  2. The middle ear – this is the part that’s separated from the outer ear by the ear drum, and that lets us hear things.
  3. The inner ear – this is the part deep inside the head that controls our balance.

Source – http://www.flickr.com/photos/fdctsevilla/4030999315/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Since there are three parts to the ear, that means there are three types of ear infections.

  1. Otitis externa – (meaning external ear) this is an infection of the outer ear, also called swimmers ear. This usually takes place either because of a scratch or injury or because something gets stuck in the ear, like a jelly bean
  2. Otitis media – (meaning middle ear) so this is the classic ear infection that most people are talking about when they say ear infection. This is going to be the topic of this article.
  3. Otitis interna – (meaning inner ear) also called labyrinthitis. This is almost always a viral infection and causes vertigo (or ‘the room is spinning’)

So, what causes an ear infection?

The middle ear is a little space with the ear drum on one side. It has only one way out, the Eustachian tube, which is a little tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. This lets pressure equalize between the outside and the middle ear, and what gets blocked when we go down a mountain and our ears feel like they need to pop. When we yawn, we open the Eustachian tubes and let the pressure equalize.

Most commonly with a cold or other viral infection there is inflammation and swelling in the throat which can block off the Eustachian tubes. This allows fluid to accumulate in the middle ear instead of draining like it would normally if the Eustachian tubes weren’t blocked.

This is often the situation with an ear ‘infection’, fluid builds up in the middle ear which gives the symptoms of:

  1. Pressure in the ear & ear pain
  2. Possibly trouble hearing

Since the stagnant fluid has no way to get out with the Eustachian tubes plugged, it is possible for the bacteria normally present in the ear to overgrow and cause an infection, though this is less common than most people think.

How is it treated conventionally?

MD’s have prescribed tons upon tons of antibiotics for a condition that rarely involves an actual infection. In fact, instead of calling it an ear infection, we’d be better off calling it an ear ache. Luckily guidelines have changed and the standard course of action is to watch and wait. In most kids, when the inflammation in the throat goes down, the Eustachian tubes open, the fluid drains, and the ear ache goes away. However parents often want a treatment for their kids and bully or harass doctors into giving antibiotics.

My recommendation?

Save the antibiotics for serious infections and treat an ear ache naturally.

How is it treated naturally?

The natural treatment of an ear ache typically involves four parts.

  1. Heat – most people find applying heat to the ear makes it feel much better. Filling a hot water bottle (don’t burn yourself or you child) and laying it across the ear and neck can bring a lot of relief. Do it as long as if feels good and as often as needed.
  2. Ear oil – such as THIS good brand.  Depending on the size of the child 2-3-10 drops in each ear laying with the ear facing up and preferably allowing the oil to sit in the ear for 5-10 minutes once to twice a day. The ear oil soothes the pain and helps prevent any infection from setting in
    1. IMPORTANT POINT – Do NOT put ear oil in an ear with a ruptured ear drum. How do you know? Ideally, you should have someone who knows what they’re looking for take a peek inside. So please consider having a brief visit with your healthcare provider. Also, if you see fluid draining from the ear, that’s a sign the ear drum has burst, especially if the ear pain gets much better.
  3. Immune support – this serves two purposes. First, since most ear aches are the result of a cold, flu or other infection, the immune support helps the persons body fight off the infection which ends the inflammation which is causing the Eustachian tube to be blocked. The second, is that by increasing the strength of the immune system, it helps the body take care of any little infection that may be brewing in the ear, helping to resolve it and prevent the need for antibiotics. HERE is a good option, HERE is another.
  4. Throat spray – HERE is a good option. It has immune support in it and also astringent herbs which help reduce inflammation and lymphagogues which help bring down swelling in the throat. I dose it between 1-4 sprays (depending on how big the sick person is) every couple of hours.

Using the above four steps, I have seen the VAST majority of ear infections clear quickly and without problems.

If things don’t improve or get significantly worse, be smart, make sure the person gets seen by a medical professional (natural or otherwise). It’s rare but occasionally ear aches do turn into serious ear infections and need to be treated with things like antibiotics.

However, using the above four steps means more than likely you can treat an ear ache while saving people from unnecessary antibiotics.

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Photo attribution – https://bit.ly/2kZPYQh

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