Ear infection is a common occurrence during winters. It troubles children more than adults. Know how to cure an ear infection from the following article.
Ear infection is of three types, otitis media, otitis interna and otitis externa. The first infection is of the middle ear and it mostly affects infants and children. The second one is an inner ear infection; also termed as ‘labyrinthitis’. Otitis externa is also known as ‘swimmer’s ear’; it affects the external ear.
Treating Ear Infections At Home
# Take a clean cloth, soak it in warm water and wring it out. Press the warm cloth against the infected ear for sometime until it begins to cool; repeat frequently. The warmth of the cloth will reduce the pain as well as the swelling. However, this remedy relieves pain only for the duration of its application. So it is better to take over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain which may recur during the night while sleeping. (Do not give aspirin to children or teenagers without a doctor’s consultation.)
# Fill a sock with heated salt and place it over the infected ear. This will draw out the fluids that may have accumulated inside the ear. Make sure that the sock isn’t too hot to cause any burn to the skin of the ear.
# In case of a swimmer’s ear, you can make a mixture of water and vinegar (50/50) and apply it as an ear drop into the infected ear. The vinegar creates an unfriendly pH environment for the pathogen causing the infection.
# Before going to bed, put 2-3 drops of warm garlic oil into the ear. But before doing this, remove any water that might be in the Eustachian tube. You can use a blow dryer for the purpose. Alternatively, drops of warm olive oil, juice of mango leaf, juice of grated onion or lobelia extract can also be used.
# Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic and is one of the simplest and effective remedy for ear infections. It has broad spectrum antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal qualities. Lie down on your side so that the affected ear is pointing upward. Simply use a standard eye dropper and place no more than three drops (for adults) and two drops (for children) of colloidal silver at the canal of the infected ear. Remain in the same position for 5-6 minutes. Thereafter, sit straight and let the liquid drain out.
# Daily administration of surgical alcohol (2-3 drops) in the affected ear has shown significant improvements in curing ear infections. Alcohol treats pathogenic infections, reduces pain by its anesthetic action and dissolves earwax. Usually the result is expected within a week of its use.
Usually, most ear infections are self-resolving and can be managed by self-care measures such as the ones described above. However, in some cases some people may require the help of medicines. People with an ear infection and a fever over 39 degree Celsius are treated with antibiotics, and so are people whose ear infection is causing moderate to severe pain. Children who are less than 6 months old and are diagnosed with an ear infection may also be treated with antibiotics. It is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor even after the symptoms are gone or the ear has stopped hurting. This is to prevent the infection from recurring, and the pathogen from getting resistant to the given antibiotics.
An ear infection is an easily preventable condition. Parents may take the following measures to reduce the risks of the infection in their children:
- Keep your child from getting exposed to cigarette smoke. It interferes with the working of the eustachian tubes. Note that your clothes that have been exposed to cigarette smoke may also affect your child.
- During the cold and flu season, send your child to day care less frequently. This lowers the risk of your child getting common cold or similar infections from other children.
- Never bottlefeed your child while he/she is lying down or sleeping.
- Frequent hand-washing, and timely vaccinations also help in preventing infections of the ear, and that of the respiratory tract.
As a precautionary advice, in the event of any kind of liquid or pus draining out of the ear, it is better not to use any kind of drops that have been mentioned above. For such ear problems, it is safer to seek help from an ENT specialist rather than taking any kind of risk with home remedies.