Everyone has to deal with infections at some point or the other; they are a part and parcel of life. Today we have antibiotics to clear up infections but earlier, people only had home remedies to get rid of them. These home remedies can still be used today to clear up common infections. Naturally, you must seek medical attention if these do not show results. Today we will discuss a few home remedies for ear infections in adults and toddlers.
1. Bag of salt
Many people swear by this treatment for ear infection pain relief. Hold a bag of salt over the painful ear as you lie on your side. Hold the bag for at least 10 minutes. This will remove moisture and give much needed relief from pain.
2. Swimmer’s ear treatment with vinegar
When it is time to pull out your swimming gear, the last thing you want is to deal with swimmer’s ear. Sometimes, a swimmer’s ear can also develop into a painful ear infection. Swimmer’s ear is basically an infection of the skin on the outer ear canal which flares up after swimming or from the ear being wet for a long time. The best home treatment for this condition is- Mix together 1 teaspoon each of 9% rubbing alcohol and organic apple cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar. Using a dropper, add a few drops of the mixture in the painful ear. The alcohol will dry up the water while vinegar will eliminate bacteria. Allow the remaining liquid to drain off from the ear after a few minutes.
3. Reduce dairy consumption
Kids who consume cow’s milk and other dairy products are more likely[i] to develop acute and chronic ear infection episodes. Reducing or giving up dairy products can help prevent such infections. Go for dairy alternatives like nut milks and nut butters.
4. Give up smoking
The most important middle ear infection treatments include quitting smoking. Children who live in household where one or more adults smoke are most likely to develop infections. Adult smokers are also at a risk of developing chronic throat and ear infections. If you want to avoid taking ear infection antibiotics, try this natural remedy of living in smoke free environment.
5. Take vitamins and essential fatty acids
Kids and adults with nutritional deficiencies of certain vitamins and essential fatty acids are likely to develop otitis media and middle ear problems. So take a good vitamin-mineral supplement. Your doctor/pediatrician can prescribe the right one. Also eat a healthy diet comprising of fruits, seeds, vegetables, nuts and fatty fish etc.
6. Tea tree oil
A great folk remedy that really works for treating ear infections quickly is tea tree oil. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a teaspoon of olive oil. Add the mixture in both ears one at a time, using a dropper. Lie on your side opposite to the ear being treated. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of the oils will eliminate bacteria and heal the ear. Note that this is one of the home remedies for ear infections in adults only. Do not use it in kids as tea tree oil can irritate the skin and cause a burning sensation. Make sure you use tea tree oil diluted with olive or coconut oil.
7. Onion and garlic cooked in olive oil
Finely grate or chop up some onion and garlic and cook it in a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for at least 5 to 7 minutes until all the juices from the garlic and onion enter the oil. Now cool the mixture a bit and strain the liquid. The antimicrobial properties of garlic and onion are now infused in the olive oil. Add a bit of the thick liquid inside the painful ear. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and this remedy eliminates ear infections from the root. Use the remedy regularly to prevent infections.
8. Lemon juice
Add undiluted lemon juice inside the affected ear. The anti-microbial properties of lemon juice will kill bacteria and heal your ear ache quickly. Repeat this remedy 2-3 times a day and each time allow the juice to penetrate deep inside the ear canal. Use this home remedy for 2-3 days or until the infection clears. Note: avoid this remedy if you have an open wound or cuts on the inner ear as it will sting.
9. Vinegar and water
Mix together 50% vinegar and 50% water and use the mixture to treat the infected ears. Add a few drops of the diluted vinegar in both ears and allow it to drain naturally. The vinegar will kill bacteria and microbes and heal ear pain.
10. Ear infection hydrogen peroxide remedy
Hydrogen peroxide is another fantastic remedy for ear infections. Add the bubbling 3% hydrogen peroxide inside the ears and as the solution bubbles, it will eliminate bacteria and also remove hardened wax.
11. Hot compress
This remedy is for ear infection pain relief. Apply warm compress made using wheat or rice bag or hot water bottle on the ear. The heat will soothe away the pain and also drain the pus or liquid inside the ear. You can easily make a hot compress by filling up an old sock with rice or wheat and tying up its end. Microwave this for a few seconds and use it as a compress to soothe away aches and pains.
12. Use ear drops
The best ear drops for ear infection for adults and toddlers provide much needed relief from pain. Many top recommended brands are available in drug stores including ENT Essentials All Dry Ear. Use as directed.
These easy ways to cure ear infections have been tried and tested and have helped people since centuries in curing ear pain without antibiotics. As always, what works for one person may not always work for another. If your ear ache persists or worsens or you develop high fever, seek medical help immediately.
[i] Healing Childhood Ear Infections: Prevention, Home Care, and Alternative Remedies by Michael A. Schmidt