Ear infection treatment and prevention

In the last 4 days two of my friends have told me about their young sons, both under two years who have had ear infections that just won't quit.  Both babies were put on multiple rounds of various antibiotics that wouldn't cure the infection.  Finally they had to get daily antibiotic shots....ugh!  There's nothing worse than seeing your baby in pain and feeling that there is nothing you can do about it.

Dr. Lawrence Rosen, MD,  founder of one of the countries first green, integrative primary care practices, The Whole Child Center was featured in this month's issue of Kiwi Magazine and addressed this issue of chronic ear infections.

  • For viral infections which won't benefit from antibiotics (only bacterial infections do) Dr. Rosen recommended a mixture of crushed garlic in several tablespoons of olive oil dropped into the child's ear (2-3 drops at a time) as often as needed for pain relief.  
  • Garlic is a natural anti-viral often recommended for any/all viral infections.  Per Dr. Rosen, there are also drops available in health food stores (try Whole Foods or if you live in Chicago, I love Aarons Apothecary who has a very knowledgeable staff and they offer free delivery).  
  • He also suggests massaging the neck lymph nodes to help drain the fluid in the area which when left stagnant can collect bacteria.  Try massaging from the ear down the neck with a drop of lavender oil mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (or just olive oil if you don't have lavender).  This should help relieve a little of your poor little one's pain.   When in doubt or if the infection worsens or lasts more than 48 hours, see your doctor.
  • If dropping some homemade concoction in your child's ear isn't for you, try crushing a couple cloves of garlic, wrapping in a small cloth or paper towel and putting that in the ear for about 30 minutes (more details on Home Remedies for Life)

    And I often look to Dr. Weil when validating alternative therapies.  Here's his take on ear infections in children:
    • According to Dr. Weil, cranial sacral therapy can help with treating ear pain and infections in children.  I think this is worth a shot if the alternative is surgery or constant pain.
    • For children with recurrent ear infections, Dr. Weil suggests eliminating all dairy and dairy containing products for 3 months to see if this helps.

    And a few more suggestions simple suggestions:
    • Have your child sleep with her head elevated to allow the tubes to drain.  Lying flat (which babies and children often do) allows bacteria to collect in the ear tubes.
    • Apply a warm, moist washcloth to the ear.
    • Have older children chew gum which opens the Eustachian tubes
    Any time your child is put on antibiotics, it's important to replenish the healthy bacteria in her gut as these bacteria play a crucial role in our immune response.  Here are some guidelines for treating and maintaining a healthy gut in children.  


    1. Thanks for the ear infection suggestions. Joe has had many and continues to even after tubes! I will definitely try the probiotic and the massage. If I'm brave enough I may even try the garlic drops! Thanks for the good info!

    2. These are great suggestions - it is so hard to watch them go through it and not be able to do anything more than give an antibiotic... Cash loves the massage!


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