When it comes to Acute Otitis Media (AOM) or the common ear infection there is still much confusion as to whether or not to administer antibiotics. Generally, antibiotics have been prescribed as a safe guard to bacterial illnesses which may be present. However, it is reported that at least 60% of cases of AOM will resolve within 24 hours and 80% of cases within 3 days without the use of antibiotics. (1)
“Acute otitis media (AOM) is responsible for a large proportion of antibiotics prescribed for US children. Use and overuse of antibiotics is associated with the development and spread of resistant bacteria.” (Coco et al)
If you’re a parent or have raised and cared for children you probably know that acute illnesses always seem to worsen at night. Recently my son woke me in the middle of the night…the poor guy was in serious pain with an earache. Immediately I engaged my mommy brain and began thinking of ways to comfort him and help ease the pain.
One thing that always helps, regardless of the situation, are the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy Pastilles. A combination of flower essences the pastilles help to alleviate some of the stress that comes with the pain of an acute condition. These pastilles never seem to fail and help calm and relax the child giving you some time to evaluate the situation.
The next step is to prepare a hot water bottle or use a heating pad and have the child lay their head on it on the side with the affected ear. The addition of heat does seem to help ease the pain. I usually keep a combination of garlic and mullein oil handy for earaches, but found that I just happened to be out. I have found that in a pinch you can prepare garlic oil which is very effective in about thirty minutes.
Garlic is antimicrobial which means it inhibits the growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Garlic has even found to be effective against various strains of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. (2)
5 cloves of fresh garlic
¼ cup of olive oil
Peel and crush the fresh cloves of garlic, place them in a small pan and cover them completely with olive oil. You want to set the heat of the stove very low as to not cook the garlic, but merely warm the oil. If you have a small crock pot you can combine the garlic and oil and set the crock pot on high for thirty minutes and then lower the setting. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes. However, the longer you leave it the stronger the infusion. Strain off just the amount you need and allow the remainder of the mixture to continue macerating (soaking) overnight.
How to Use:
First, ensure that the oil is not too warm by placing a small amount on the inner skin of your forearm. Fill the ear channel completely with the oil and place clean cotton in the ear to keep the oil from seeping out. Make sure to treat both ears because the infection can travel from one ear to the other.
If the child is still experiencing some pain you can give Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) as a tea or tincture. Chamomile helps to reduce inflammation, is calming and soothing and never fails for me when used to relieve mild to moderate pain and to help the child relax.
It never hurts to be prepared, but it is good to know that in a pinch we can still find a lot of wonderful remedies right in our own kitchen. The wonderful thing about these remedies is they work just as well for adults as they do kids.
- Stay calm…if you are calm it helps to keep the child calm as well and allows you the opportunity to evaluate the situation.
- Bach Flower Rescue Remedy Pastilles may be used additionally to help the child relax.
- Warmth applied to the ear might help to ease some of the pain.
- Garlic Oil drops placed in both ears.
- Chamomile tea or tincture to help reduce inflammation, additional relaxation and mild to moderate pain reduction.
- Damoiseaux, R., & Rovers, M. (2011, May 17). AOM in Children. NCBI. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3275313/?report=classic
- Ankri, S., & Mirelman, D. (n.d.). Antimicrobial properties of allicin from gar… [Microbes Infect. 1999] – PubMed – NCBI. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10594976