Ear infection is the most common childhood illness seen in practice. Almost every child has had at least one ear infection by the time he or she is six, and for many children and their parents, frequent recurrences of these infections are a major problem.
Otitis Media is an infection that often originates in the throat and spreads via the Eustachian tube, toward the middle ears.
Symptoms and Signs:
- Redness in or around the ear.
- The child pulls or rubs on the ear, face, or shakes their head.
- In babies, often the only symptom will be a fever and crying.
- In older children, a fever accompanied by painful ears will indicate an infection.
- Sometimes there may a discharge of white or yellow pus oozing from the ear.
What you can do to help:
Many studies have shown that Homeopathic remedies relieved earaches and infections, and worked faster than antibiotics..Recent research indicates that antibiotics are no more effective than simply watching and waiting for the infection to pass. However when Homeopathic remedies are used; symptoms improved rapidly, often within hours of the remedy being given and without the introduction of new problems.
If you act quickly and begin treatment as soon as you notice symptoms and signs, you can resolve many simple earaches, preventing them from the more serious conditions that will require the help of a professional Homoeopath.
PREVENTION: To prevent ear infections, avoid nursing or bottle feeding children when they are in a lying down position, as gravity may move fluids to run into the Eustachian tube and encourage infection.
REDUCE PAIN: A heating pad, or warm facecloth applied to the ear may help reduce pain.
SUPPORT: Encourage your child to rest, drink lots of water and to stay comfortable
SUPPLEMENT: Taking a herbal supplement that acts as an anti-catarrhal will reduce the amount of mucous produced by the membranes of the upper respiratory tract, and will help to prevent further infections. I like to use: Echinacea, Andrographis, Garlic and Elderflower
When to seek Medical advice:
- Earache with severe weakness, headache, stiff neck, or lack of alertness
- If baby presents with a depressed or bulging fontanel
- If there is a sudden decrease in hearing
- If the earache lasts for a period longer than 7 days
- If the child has not had grommets , and you notice a discharge from the ear
My favourite Remedies to keep on hand:
ACONITE: Useful in the early stages of an ear infection, especially following an exposure to cold, dry air. There is a rapid onset of symptoms which include: restless or anxious behavior, dry hot skin, and mucus membranes, and incredible thirst. The ear is very sensitive to touch. A useful Remedy to take at night especially if your child wakes up with pain between 12-2am.
BELLADONNA: Another important remedy to reach for with a sudden onset of intense pain that may be of a shooting or throbbing sensation. The ear or ear canal will appear to be bright red. More often than not the child will complain that the pain is worse on the right.
There are very high fevers that accompany the ear pain. During a fever the child may become delirious in sleep, with nightmares.
CHAMOMILLA: The child needing this remedy is extremely irritable, and will scream and cry angrily. They don’t want to be touched or comforted and may even strike out. The ear pain is often as a result of the inflammation caused by teething, there may be an accompanying clear nasal discharge running down the lips. The ear pain is relieved if the child is gently carried or rocked, and if a hot compress or warm wrap is applied to the ears.
HEPAR SULPH: This is a remedy for a longer lasting chronic ear infection, rather than in first stage. The ear is extremely sensitive to touch, and feels worse for cold air. Often the child will want to cover her head or lie on affected side to keep the ear warm. There is a thick discharge from nose or ear smells like old cheese.
PULSATILLA: The child needing this remedy will be clingy, weepy and moody. They will seek sympathy, company, and reassurance. The ear pain is often worse at night and in a warm room, and worse for warm applications. The child will have little or no thirst. This is a remedy to reach for when there is a thick, yellowish-green, or bland discharge from nose if a cold is present or from the ear in advanced stages.
Give the medicine: every 3-6 hours for 2-3 days, stopping when there is definite improvement; repeat when symptoms begin to get worse again, or if no further improvement has occurred after twelve hours.
When to try another medicine: if there is no significant improvement after 12-24 hours
Jacobs, J, Springer, DA, Crothers, D. Homeopathic Treatment of Acute Otitis Media in Children: A Preliminary Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial, Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 20,2 (February 2001):177-183.
McCormick, D.P, Chonmaitree, T, Pittman, C, Saeed, K, Friedman, N.R, Uchida, T, Baldwin, C.D. Nonsevere acute otitis media: a clinical trial comparing outcomes of watchful waiting versus immediate antibiotic treatment. Pediatrics June 2005; 115(6):1455.