If your little one has ever had an ear infection, you know how miserable it can be. Pumpkin, our four-year-old, just had her very first ear infection a few days ago. It was actually pretty scary at first, because she woke up with a moderate fever that suddenly spiked to just under 103 degrees, but she had no other symptoms for hours! I kept asking her if anything hurt and she kept saying “no”. There wasn’t any ear pain at all until late in the day. Since I didn’t know what to treat, I made her some herbal iced tea to sip and we just waited for something to happen. Not a good way to spend your time! Once the ear pain hit, I finally knew what we were dealing with and I got busy consulting my most trusted herbal information sources. First off, here’s what we DIDN’T do.

NO Fever Reducers

NO Antibiotics

Many pediatricians hand out antibiotics like candy (come to think of it, they shouldn’t be handing out candy so freely, either!). If you were raised on antibiotics, it probably seems like I’m over-reacting, but antibiotics should not be administered unless they are absolutely necessary. When it comes to childhood illnesses, including ear infections, they are almost never needed. My post on antibiotics will be coming in the next week or two.

Reduce Pain and Speed Healing

I know that you’re cringing, right now. “Wait-and-see?! I can’t just sit here and watch my baby suffer for FOUR DAYS!” Deep breath. I’ve got you covered! First of all, it’s very unlikely that the pain will really last four days. Most children recover much more quickly than that. Here’s what to do while you wait for the infection to clear.

Heat helps!

  1. Electric heating pad: This has the most potential to burn since the temperature fluctuates, so keep your own hand on it!
  2. Rice-filled heating pad: Once it’s cooled enough to not burn, there is no risk of the heat increasing, so this is a good choice.
  3. Warm washcloth: It will need to be warmed often, as it won’t retain heat long, but the moist heat can really help.
  4. Onion: Yes, really! Bake for 20 minutes, with the skin on, slice in half and cool until it won’t burn. Hold the cut side against the ear until it is no longer warm. It also helps heal the infection.

Heal the infection

*Safety Tip*: If there is any puss coming out of the ear, that means the ear drum is perforated (it tore, due to the pressure). It will heal, but DO NOT put anything at all inside an ear that is perforated. I will explain alternatives for perforated ear drums.

Lavender essential oil 

Ear drop oil:  

Garlic by mouth: If the child able to swallow it, finely chop some garlic and mix it with a spoonful of raw honey. Even just a small amount is extremely potent and will help to fight the infection. If the child is still breastfeeding, mama can take the garlic in honey 3 times a day and the benefits will be passed through the milk to the baby.Image

Keep the head elevated: Try to figure out a way to keep the child propped up while sleeping. Laying down flat increases the pressure and, therefore, the pain. Just be sure that whatever you do doesn’t put a baby at risk of smothering.

We started this treatment in the early evening and Pumpkin’s fever broke and ear pain was gone in well under 24 hours (she was much better after just 12 hours!).

*A few important safety notes: A high fever will make a child very tired and inactive, but if the child is unresponsive, get medical attention. Unresponsive means that a baby is limp and can’t seem to focus eyes on you, an older child may seem weak, confused and unable to answer questions. Also, a high fever can lead to dehydration, so push liquids as much as possible. Coconut water is an excellent choice, since it’s full of electrolytes.


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