Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ear ache remedy

(Ivy Mae modeling her cotton ball in her ear while she eats a snack in the backyard)

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.


Mike and Christie said...

I swear you are my sister. :)
We too refrain from antibiotics unless truly necessary.

We use peroxide in the ear to boil out the poison as a preventative once a month. (Our pediatrician
gave us this info in the 1970"s)
No ear infections needing meds since.
We have had a few ear aches around here. I like the rice in the tube sock idea! Thanks!

Lynn Falk said...

Glad you posted this! I heard you talk about this before, but I couldn't remember exactly what it was you used. Thankfully my boys rarely get earaches (actually, I think Ethan is the only one who has ever had one) But, this will be a great thing to know, just in case!

I'm glad Ivy is feeling better. I can't wait to see everyone in just one month!

Beth Laurie said...

I'm all about the natural remedies!:) I haven't yet had to give Jude any medicine, not even Tylenol, and I hope to keep it that way for as long as possible. I've found colloidal silver to work great in place of antibiotics. I've used it for my sinus infection and earache I had, Jude's pink eye, ear infection and urinary tract infection in Ruby and it's cured them all and very quickly which is what's so great. I'll always keep some on hand now. I tried the garlic and oil at Mom's when I didn't have any colloidal silver and Jude kept pulling on his ear. I don't know if he actually had an earache or not, but I didn't want to take the chance since it was bedtime. So I used your trick and put him to bed with the oil and cotton ball in his ear and he slept all night and wasn't pulling at it anymore in the morning.

Tami said...

Well, this should come in handy. Anya still fights ear infections even after having her tonsils and adnoids removed and having tubes put in! Its sure worth a shot...especially for the middle of the night episodes. ;>)

Stange Family said...

thanks for sharing. I'm not crazy about shoving those chemicals in our kids, either. Please share any more remedies that you have!

Grandma Falk said...

I have to admit that I was a little hesitant about this remedy. Earaches were the one thing that made me run to the doctor with my children (though admittedly, we had very earaches), but I have seen this treatment work really well. I am a firm believer in the less medication, the better, so I am really glad to know this works.

Anonymous said...

I remember doing this for my kids when they were little. The one thing that I did differently is that I rolled a garlic capsule (not the odor-free kind) on the counter for awhile to warm the oil and then took a pin and pricked the capsule. The kids would put their heads on the counter and I would squeeze the capsule in their ear followed by a cotton ball. I'm wondering if the fresh garlic is better though, since it's so potent. They were so stinky from the garlic, but very happy kids in the morning! Way to go, Melissa, for being anti-antibiotic.


Aunt Susan

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