Ear infections are more often seen in children than adults. It is caused by bacteria or viruses in the middle ear.
Cause of Ear Infection
Some of the causes and contributing factors that lead to ear infections are wax buildup, fetal alcohol syndrome, food allergies, upper respiratory infections, environmental allergies, internal injuries, genetics, and nutritional deficiencies.
Symptoms of Ear Infection
Some of the common signs of an ear infection are the pain in the ear, headache, tugging at the ear, high fever, fluid draining from the ear, difficulty sleeping, poor response to sounds, vomiting, diarrhea etc.
Our ear is made up of three parts:
Each part has specific functions to perform that help a person hear.
The outer ear which has a shape like a leaf and captures the traveling sound waves. In the outer part of ear, there is a section called pinna. Through this, the sound waves enter into the ear canal.
The sound waves through the ear canal reach the eardrum which is located in the middle part of the ear. The middle section of the ear also has other important organs like a hammer, stir up, anvil, semicircular, and middle canal. Sound waves travel through the canal, to the inner section of our ear.
In the inner part of the ear, there are other important ear parts like cochlea, Eustachian tube, and nerves. The sound waves from canal are sent to nerves so that the brain can process the sound. After that, we are able to recognize the sound and understand it.
Ear infection can occur in any of the three parts of the ear.
The most serious is the inner ear infections. It is very important to treat an ear infection to prevent further complications, including damaging or rupturing of the ear drum. Ear infections if not treated properly can lead to chronic recurrence and can even cause deafness!
It is advised to consult a doctor to prevent infection from getting more serious, but for immediate relief you can try some of the natural treatments.
There are simple and easy home remedies that can help you to get rid of the pain and other symptoms of an ear infection.
Home Remedies to Cure Ear Infection
Salt is probably the easiest and readily available home remedy.
- Heat 1 cup of salt in a pan. Give low heat for a few minutes. You can use a microwave or double-boiler to heat salt.
- Place this hot salt on a cloth and then seal the open end with a rubber band or tie a knot.
- When it is moderately hot which you can bear, just lay down and put the cloth on the affected ear for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Repeat this remedy daily. The heat generated from the sock will help to draw out the fluid from the ear and relieve you from swelling and pain.
Garlic is highly effective in the treatment of ear infections. It possesses antimicrobial properties and natural pain relieving qualities.
- Make garlic oil by cooking 2 garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons of sesame oil or mustard oil. Cook until it turns blackish. Then, strain the solution. When it is bearably hot, use 2 to 4 drops of this oil in the infected ear as ear drops.
- Else, you can boil 2 or 3 fresh garlic cloves in water for 5 minutes. Then, crush them and add some salt. Put this mixture in a clean cloth and put it on the affected ear.
- Alternatively, consuming 2 to 3 cloves of raw garlic daily also helps to speed up the healing process.
Also Read: 10 Health Benefits of Garlic!
You use holy basil to treat minor ear ache and infections. It can relieve you from ear pain and also reduce infection.
- Extract the juice by crush 4 to 5 fresh holy basil leaves gently. Apply this basil juice on or around the infected ear. Avoid the juice to get in the ear canal.
- Else, you can also mix few drops of holy basil oil with an equal amount of carrier oil such as coconut oil. Now, soak a cotton ball in this mixture and gently wipe just inside the ear, around the outer edge and behind the ear. Repeat this process twice daily.
4. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a good option to get rid of the fungus that might be causing the ear infection.
- Mix 1 part ACV with an equal amount of water or alcohol. Soak a cotton ball in the solution.
- Put this cotton ball in your ear like a plug and leave it for 5 minutes.
- Remove the cotton ball and then lay down on your opposite side to drain the liquid from the ear.
- Dry your ear as much as possible using a hair dryer.
If ACV is not available, you can also use white vinegar. If the infection is in the Eustachian tubes, try gargling with apple cider vinegar.
Also Read: 30 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar!
5. Olive oil
Some fungal or bacterial growth are also one of the main causes of an ear infection leading to blockage in the Eustachian tubes. Well, you can easily clear this obstruction using olive oil.
- Warm some olive oil in a cup. Put few drops of this warm oil into the infected ear.
- The olive oil will cause the wax to soften. Remove the infected wax using cotton-tipped swabs. Do not put the swab too far in the ear or you might damage the eardrum.
Alternatively, you can use mustard oil also.
6. Warm water bottle
Apply some heat to the infected ear, as soon as possible. This will quickly relieve the pain and also prevent microorganism infestation.
- Keep a warm water bottle or heating pad against the ear.
- Else, you can also use a warm compress. Dip a clean washcloth in lukewarm water and ring out the excess water. Then place a washcloth on the infected ear.
- Keep in mind not apply heat to the ear for long periods of time. Start with 5 minutes, remove the heat for a while and then repeat the process as needed.
Onion has medicinal uses, including for the treatment of an ear infection.
- Chop 1 small onion, put it in a bowl and heat it for 1 to 2 minute in a microwave. Let it cool, then strain out the onion juice. Put 2 to 3 drops of the juice in the infected ear, then leave it for some time. Turn your head to let it drain out of your ear.
- Else, bake an onion for ½ hour, then cut it into halves and put one-half onion in a thick cotton cloth. Place that cloth on the infected ear for 5 minutes. Wait for ten minutes and then repeat the process.
Also Read: 15 Health Benefits of Onion!
8. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil of mild antibacterial properties that can give instant relief from an earache. To treat an ear infection-
- Mix 3 drops of tea tree oil, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of colloidal silver with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Warm the mixture slightly.
- Lay down on your side with your head on a towel. Use a dropper and fill your ear with the mixture. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Then turn and lay on your other side so that the mixture drains out of your ear completely.
- Follow this remedy 2 to 3 times a day for two days.
9. Mango leaf juice
Extract the juice by crushing 2 to 3 soft mango leaves. Slightly warm this juice. Now, by using a dropper, put 3 to 4 drops of the juice into the infected ear. Within few minutes, you will feel relieved from the pain. Follow this remedy 2 to 3 times a day for full relief from the ear infection.
Also Read: 15 Health Benefits of Mango!
10. Breast milk
There are natural antibodies present in breast milk that can help speed up the healing process of any kind of ear infection. It will alleviate the swelling and discomfort and help you get rid of an ear infection within 1 or 2 days. This remedy is helpful for both children and adults.
- Use a dropper and put few drops of breast milk into the affected ear.
- Repeat this process every few hours as needed.
Tips to remember
- Use a blow dryer on low setting after the shower to dry your ears.
- Always wear a scarf or any kind of covering over your ears when you go outside in windy weather.
- Before swimming, coat your ears with mineral oil.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Reduce your intake of dairy products.
- Eat plenty of fresh green vegetables.
- Don’t smoke.
- Quit drinking.
- Avoid consuming food made with processed sugar.
- Chew gum when you go up in elevation or on an airplane.