Sickness and subsequent earaches have made their rounds at our house this past week. Some glad-winter's-over-better-squeeze-in-one-more kind of cold. Brief sore throats that turned to phlegmmy coughs--the usual. Except that this cold seems to guarantee an earache at the end of it.
And, just a note here: Why, oh why, do those always seem to show up in the middle of the night?
Anyway, my friend Ginger and I share an anti-antibiotics viewpoint. I asked her once what she would recommend as a natural you-can-find-this-in-your-kitchen cure for earaches. At the time it worked so well that now it has become a standard in our house.
Crush fresh (yes, it matters) garlic in olive oil (not sure if the kind of oil matters or not) enough so the juices mix with the oil. I use about one garlic clove to two tablespoons of oil. Ideally, this should steep a little while but I have used it right away too. Really, plain oil is very soothing to an earache anyway. The garlic adds anti-bacterial benefits.
It is best to warm the oil some but not to make it hot. Be very cautious about this because you don't want to cook either the oil or the garlic but you especially want to be careful to test the temperature first to make sure you don't burn your child!
Put a few drips of the oil (leave the garlic, it doesn't go in the ear) into the ear and top it off with a cotton ball to prevent drafts and leaks. Next, get ready to feel a little hungry from the warm garlic and oil smell!
I have found that a rice bag (in our case, a tube sock filled half-way with rice and then knotted at the top) heated in the microwave for 30 seconds or less gives much comfort as well.
Now, how fast this works varies but I have found that it works in about half a day or less usually. In Ivy's case, she went to sleep, woke up at 11:30pm crying with an earache and she and I were up until about 3 or 4 in the morning watching videos. Well, she watched, I dozed. :-)
The next morning she was fine and stayed that way. Two days later, the other ear did the same and I repeated the process. Same story except I got to bed again earlier.
Ibuprofen works best in my opinion for the pain but it is really not good for their little livers. I gave her one dose each time.
One thing I like about this trick (the oil and garlic) is that it actually seems to cure the earache so that there is not a three day wait of giving Motrin and Tylenol all the time. In fact, for daytime earaches it is rarely necessary that I give them the drugs at all.