Home Remedies for Ear Infections

Nurse examining boy's ear

Before the advent of modern medicine, home remedies for ear infections provided time-tested, mom-proven ways to ease the pain and discomfort of this painful condition. Many of these home remedies remain just as effective today as they were centuries ago.

Ear Infection Types and Symptoms

Ear infections are a fairly common ailment, particularly among young children, and they can be painful and extremely uncomfortable. There are two types of ear infections - otitis media and otitis externa. Otitis media is a middle ear infection that most commonly affects babies and toddlers. Otitis externa, often referred to as swimmer's ear, is an infection of the ear canal or outer ear. The main symptoms of an ear infection are an earache as well as a high temperature and sometimes nausea. Many ear infections will clear up on their own in a few days, and do not need treatment. For the rest, here are just a few traditional remedies for ear infections.

Natural Ways to Fight Ear Infections

Onion and Garlic

Garlic and onion contain anti-bacterial compounds that are effective in treating ear infections. There are a number of ways that you can take advantage of them as home remedies for ear infections.

What You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Small onion
  • Garlic clove
  • Strainer
  • Medicine or eye dropper
  • Water
  1. Heat up the two tablespoons of olive oil. Grate or finely chop some onion and mince some garlic cloves.
  2. Add two tablespoons of each to the pan. Add one tablespoon of water and fry lightly. Strain the fried onion and garlic into a jar or bottle.
  3. Use a medicine dropper or eyedropper to put a few drops into the infected ear. Tilt your head or, preferably, lie down on your side for 15 minutes. Drain it out and then rinse your ear with water.

Make Your Own Garlic Oil Antibiotic

  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Clean jar or bottle
  • Cotton ball
  1. Crush or mince the garlic cloves. Place the crushed garlic into a clean jar and pour in the extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Let the garlic steep in the olive oil for four to five days.
  3. Strain the garlic oil into a bottle and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to six months.
  4. To use the garlic oil for your ear infection, warm it to room temperature and then put three to four drops into the ear. Keep your head tilted or loosely plug the ear with a cotton ball. Do this three times a day for four to five days.

Other Ways to Use Garlic or Onion for Ear Infections

Here are a few more suggestions that may ease an ear infection.

  • Purchase some garlic oil liquid capsules from your local pharmacy. Warm a cup of water and put the capsule for a minute or two to gently warm it up. Prick a hole into the capsule. Squeeze four to five drops into the affected ear. Lie down on your side or keep your head tilted for at least 5 minutes.
  • Peel a clove of garlic in the affected ear, and hold it in place with a cotton ball.
  • Warm up some onion juice and use it as eardrops.

NOTE: Never use garlic oil as an ear infection remedy if you have an ear discharge or if there is any chance that the eardrum may be perforated.

More Home Remedy Tips for Easing Earaches

  • Sometimes, an earache may be caused by a blocked Eustachian tube. In this case, yawning or swallowing may be all you need to do to unblock the tube and ease the pain. These actions serve to open the passageway between the ear and the tube. If it is a child who has the earache, having the child swallow some water can have the same effect.
  • Standing upright may also unblock a Eustachian tube naturally, so if you have earache while you sleep, try sitting upright in your bed for a few minutes.
  • You can also pinch your nose closed, and take in a deep breath. Keeping your mouth closed, blow the air down your nose without letting out the air.
  • Applying warmth to the affected ear will help ease the pain by improving blood circulation. It will also help remove wax build-up, which may be contributing to the earache. A moist warm cloth or heating pad can be used for this purpose.

Consult Your Doctor Before Using Any Home Remedy

As with any home remedy, it is highly recommended that you use them in consultation with your doctor or another licensed health care practitioner.

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Home Remedies for Ear Infections