Managing Earaches

Written by Randall Neustaedter OMD, LAc, CCH   
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 10:24
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Symptoms

Earache can indicate an infection of the external ear canal (swimmer's ear) or the middle ear, the kind that accompanies colds. Ear infections can cause mild or severe pain, or there may be no pain at all. In babies, symptoms often only include fussiness and night waking, runny nose, or fever. Sometimes all three. Ear pain tends to worsen at night while lying down. How do you know whether your baby has an ear infection? Look in the ears. Get a small home earscope (Notoco, see below) and check the eardrums for redness. You do not need to be an expert. A flushed red ear indicates an ear infection, which could be caused by a virus or bacteria. This will allow you to monitor progress of the eardrum. Or go to your health care provider and ask whether your child's ears are red. Ask for a one to ten scale of how bad the ears look.


Time to recovery


Ear infections are not dangerous. They usually resolve on their own within a week like most viruses. If pediatricians see a red ear, they will invariably prescribe antibiotics, but this can create problems. Antibiotics have a tendency to weaken the immune system and cause recurrent ear infections. Try to avoid them. Bacteria also become resistant to antibiotics if they are overused. Remember, fifty percent of ear infections are caused by viruses, and antibiotics will do nothing for these. There is no way to determine whether a virus or bacteria is causing the infection. Supportive measures and a boost to the body's defenses will usually relieve pain and solve the ear infection.


Danger signs


Persistent high fever of 102-103°
Fluid draining from the ear (not orange colored wax which is normal)
Any fever in a baby less than four months old
Prolonged illness, or significant lethargy with unresponsiveness, or severe pain


Treatment

Step 1:

  • Give a homeopathic medicine in a 30 strength. Two pellets as a dose. Repeat every one to three hours while your child is awake depending on the severity of symptoms. Give only one homeopathic medicine at a time. If one does not improve symptoms, then you can switch. Homeopathy will stimulate a healing reaction. When symptoms improve, stop the remedy and wait. If symptoms recur, then begin the medicine again. Remember, fevers are good. They indicate that the body is fighting the infection.

  • Belladonna 30c In the first stage, especially if symptoms have come on quickly and there is fever. The child is usually tired.

  • Hepar-sulph. 30c For any painful ear, especially if the ear seems tender to touch and the child is fussy or irritable. The most effective remedy for ear infections, and the best choice for swimmer's ear.

  • Pulsatilla30c For mild ear infections without severe pain, and for lingering symptoms with thickening nasal discharge.

  • If there is pain, place a few drops of body-temperature vegetable oil into the ear. This is soothing.