Have you noticed your kid crying continuously? Unable to figure out the reason behind his agony? The chances are that it could be an ear infection. Ear infections are most common in kids, especially below the age of two years. However, it can attack even older kids and even adults. This article serves as a guide to understanding the main causes of ear infections and symptoms to help you get the awareness of this painful condition. Also, check out some of the home remedies for an ear infection to get instant relief.
Symptoms Of Ear Infections:
Apart from excruciating pain in the ear, the common symptoms associated with ear infections are:
- Pulling at ears
- Unable to Sleep
- Uncontrollable Crying
- Facing difficulty in responding to sounds
- Loss of body balance
- High Fever
- Fluid Drainage from ear
- Loss of Appetite
- Severe Ear Pain
- Fluid Drainage
- Reduced sense of hearing
Causes Of Ear Infections:
An ear infection is caused by bacteria or virus, which attacks the middle ear, leading to inflammation and yellowish discharge in the area. Some of the main reasons behind a microbial attack are as follows:
- Common Cold
- Allergic Conditions
- Inflammation in Eustachian Tubes
Prevention of Ear Infections:
Although the chances of ear infections cannot be eliminated completely, you can lower their frequency by following these methods:
- Get your child vaccinated against the flu. These shots protect the kid from many types of bacterial infections.
- Keep your hands clean and dry. Always use a sanitizer after visiting the toilet
- Avoid passive smoking. Studies show that kids who are exposed to cigarette smoke are more prone to ear infections.
- Don’t encourage the habit of putting your child down for a nap with a bottle in his mouth
- Keep your child away from sick children to avoid contraction of infections.
Natural Remedies for Ear Infection:
Salt is a natural treatment for an ear infection due to its anti-septic properties.
Heat a cup of salt for five minutes in the microwave. Put this heated salt in a sock or cloth and lock it using a rubber band. Lie down and put the sock on the affected ear for 6-10 minutes at a stretch. The heated cloth or sock that contains salt will help draw the fluid out which in turn will help reduce pain and swelling.
Garlic, which has anti-microbial properties and pain-relieving qualities, makes it an ideal home remedy for your ear infection and the associated pain.
Prepare garlic oil by cooking two-three cloves of garlic in a tablespoon of sesame oil, till it turns blackish after straining and when the heat is bearable, put two or three drops of this oil in your infected ear. Consuming raw garlic will also speed up the healing process. These are considered to be one of the best natural ear drops for ear infection.
3. Olive Oil:
Olive oil is one of the natural ways to get rid of ear infection. The infection in your ear usually causes a blockage in the Eustachian tubes. Olive oil helps to clear this blockage out.
Put a few drops of warm olive oil in the affected ear. The oil will soften the hardened wax. Remove this wax using cotton or buds. Be careful that you do not dig in too far, otherwise might hurt your eardrum.
Precautions: This remedy must not be tried on infants or young children. Using buds or any poking objects is strictly not recommended for kids, as it can damage their ear drums permanently.
See More: Earwax Removal Products
4. Warm Water:
As soon as you feel some pain in your ear the quickest way to relieve yourself from the pain is to apply heat on it. This will also prevent micro-organism infestation. Use a bottle or a gel-hot bag or a normal hot bag and compress the affected ear. But do not apply the heat for a very long time. Remove it for a while and apply again. This method of using a heat compression is a safe toddler ear infection home remedy.
5. Breast Milk:
Breast Milk is a proven baby ear infection home remedy. It contains natural antibodies and can help speed up the healing process for any kind of ear problem, especially ear infections. It decreases swelling and discomfort within 48 hours. Put a few drops into the affected ear every few hours.
Onion is a common ingredient found in every household. Treating ear infections is one of its medicinal properties. Microwave an onion for 4-5 minutes and wait for it to cool down. Then strain out the juice. Put a few drops of the juice in your ear and wait for a while. Then turn around and drain the juice out.
7. Tea-Tree Oil:
Tea tree oil is the best ear infection in adults home remedies. It has anti-bacterial properties and can give instant relief from earache. Tea-tree oil contains a compound called Terpinen-4-ol, which is proven to be effective against ear infections. To use this essential oil, soak a cotton ball with tea-tree oil and place it at the opening of the ear. Leave it on for a while to let the oil slowly seep into the ear.
Precautions: This method is not recommended for kids, as tea-tree oil is a potent oil. Also, it is recommended to use a diluted version of this oil in adults.
8. Apple-Cider Vinegar:
ACV is one of the best natural remedies for ear infection in adults. This is very effective in getting rid of the fungus that mild be the cause of the discomfort.
Mix one part of the apple-cider vinegar with an equal amount of water. Soak a cotton ball in this solution. Put the cotton ball in your ear like a plug. Remove the cotton ball and drain the remaining liquid out of your ears and dry it up as soon as you can.
9. Keep Water Away:
Make sure that water does not enter your ear. Water can make the condition worse. Keep it as dry as possible and only apply the medicinal fluid. The best way to protect your ears from water is to use ear plugs or cotton balls before taking a shower. Also, use a clean towel to absorb the excess moisture.
Although these home remedies for ear infections are generally safe for use, it is highly recommended to take doctors advise before trying them on young kids. Your child’s ears are quite tender and are highly susceptible to damages. So, be very cautious before putting external substances in their ears. Adults, however can try these remedies to get instant relief from pain and also lower the dependency on powerful antibiotics.
1. Is an Ear Infection a Serious Problem?
Ear infections are quite common in children and even adults. These infections usually last for a couple of days and can be treated with these home remedies. However, in certain cases a doctor may prescribe antibiotics for 3-5 days. Even after using this medication, if the pain doesn’t come down, it can indicate an underlying problem like adenoids. In such cases, long-term medication or even surgical intervention may also be needed.
2. How Many Ear Infections are Likely to Attack a Child Per Year?
One of the most common problems in young children is an ear infection. It is estimated that 60 to 80 percent of infants are prone to an ear infection, at least once a year. This percentage increases with age and is largely seen in school going kids, who can contract infections from sick children. Other factors like adenoids or allergies can higher the frequency of attacks in the same kid.
3. How is an Ear Infection Tested?
Ear infections are usually symptomatic and are determined by certain behaviours like pulling of ears, crying or fever. To make sure a right diagnosis is performed, a doctor uses a special instrument called tympanogram, which can offer better visibility to the inner ear. Signs like redness, fluid discharge, foul smell in ears or inflammation confirm an ear infection.