Medically known as otitis media, middle ear infection mainly affects young children. The infection causes inflammation of the cavity between the eardrum and the inner ear. It tends to follow a common cold, as poor mucus drainage from the upper respiratory tract may provide an environment that is hospitable to microbes and allows them to thrive.
• Intense pain in the ear
• High temperature
• Hearing may be impaired
• Pus may discharge from the ear
Consult your doctor
• Research has shown that taking antibiotics does not significantly reduce the pain or duration of an ear infection, or its possible longer term consequences.
• Many doctors advise giving paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve pain and letting the infection run its course. However, if a discharge is present, antibiotics may need to be prescribed.
Most ear infections are caused by the bacteria or viruses that spread via the Eustachian tubes to infect the middle ear. Less common causes include hay fever and other allergies, passive smoking and poor diet. Research has shown that children who have been breastfed are less likely to get ear infections than those fed on formula.
Home Remedies for Ear Infections
For internal usage:
To boost the immune system
ECHINACEA Echinacea syrups are available in formulations specifically made for children. Follow manufacturer’s instructions according to the child’s age.
ROSEHIPS 2–2.5 g fragmented dried rosehips infused in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes before straining and cooling. For babies aged 6–12 months, give 20 ml of the infusion, three times a day; for children aged 1–6 years, give 50 ml, three times a day; and for children aged 7–12 years, give 75 ml, three times a day.
As an anti-inflammatory
MULLEIN 1.5–2 g dried herb infused in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes before straining and cooling. For babies aged 6–12 months, give 20 ml of the infusion, three times a day; for children aged 1–6 years, give 50 ml, three times a day; and for children aged 7–12 years, give 75 ml, three times a day.
Ear Infections in Children
• Unblock the nose. Children need to be taught how to blow their nose effectively. Your doctor can advise you.