Ways to Quickly Treat an Ear Infection
As most parents know, small children are prone to getting ear infections. An ear infection typically starts in the sinuses, either with allergies or a cold. Then bacteria get into the inner ear through the Eustachian tubes and causes infection. The swelling due to the infection is what leads to painful earaches. Although antibiotics are the most common way to cure an ear infection, there are other methods that do help to soothe the ache and fight off the infection as well.
Elevate Your Head
Part of the reason that infants cry less when you hold them during an ear infection isn’t that being held is comfortable. When a person sits in an upright position, it helps fluids drain from the inner ear, including the fluids containing the bacteria that cause the infection. This is also why children complain of earaches at night when they are laying down and not during the daytime. In addition to sitting up, sleeping with your head elevated can help to reduce the duration of an ear infection.
The act of swallowing works muscles that surround the opening of the Eustacian tubes. This can help to clean them of fluids that lead to infection. In addition to drinking water, chewing gum or sucking on candy can have a similar effect. Chewing gum that contains the sweetener Xylitol may also kill the bacteria that cause ear infections. Some countries sell Xylitol in syrup form for treating ear infections in children. Xylitol occurs naturally in plums and raspberries.
When you have been drinking milk during a cold, you may notice that your mucous thickens up. This thick mucus can promote slow drainage of the sinuses and cause blockages of the Eustacian tubes. If you begin having trouble with your sinuses or allergies, switch to clear liquids until your sinuses clear up. Never put infants to bed with a bottle. This can increase the chances that they will develop ear infections during the night.
Heat can help to dramatically reduce the swelling and pressure on the inner ear and promote drainage. Adding a few drops of warm olive oil, or a mixture of white vinegar and isopropyl alcohol can help to promote drainage. You can also wrap a warm iron or a heated bag of dry rice in a towel and hold it against your outer ear.