Can Earaches Be Treated Without Antibiotics?
By Kristin Misik, L.Ac.

Can Earaches Be Treated Without Antibiotics?

January 4, 2017   |   ASK THE EXPERTS  

A licensed acupuncturist shares how you can treat earaches naturally.

Watching your child suffer through any illness is challenging, and earaches are no exception. The first thing parents often do is rush their child to the pediatrician in hopes of getting an antibiotic to alleviate the pain, suffering, and, often times, accompanying fever.

However, in light of the most recent scientific research on the long-term damage and health consequences from widespread overuse of antibiotics, this isn’t the first course of action parents should be taking. In fact, antibiotics should be a last resort as their use has adverse consequences to the microbiota—the beneficial bacteria that live within our bodies, which play a critical role in immune function.

So what can you do to help your child manage the pain and suffering that comes with ear infections? There are a lot of natural remedies to try first:

  • Chiropractic adjustment. This method of treatment has proven tremendously effective with my own daughter who is prone to earaches. We usually make two to three trips to the chiropractor over the course of a week and don’t need any additional intervention.
  • Chewing gum. The action of chewing, also known as mastication, is tremendously helpful in mechanically flushing the inflammation from the ear canal. In any inflammatory condition there is an increase in localized edema, and simply chewing gum can help to flush fluid from the ear and reduce pain in the ear. Choose a natural gum than doesn’t contain sugar or aspartame.
  • Probiotics. The best source of probiotics is food and not supplementation. Lacto-fermented foods provide the microbiota, or beneficial bacteria of the body, with the nutrients they need to help the immune system fight off infection. Sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, kefir, and kvass are great sources. You can also supplement with encapsulated probiotics, but the amount of probiotics that are bioavailable in supplements is relatively small compared to food sources.
  • Garlic oil eardrops. Two warm drops in the ear daily provide natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Essential Oils. Rubbing basil oil and frankincense oil behind the ears may also speed healing time.
  • Proper nutrition. Eliminate inflammatory foods such as sugar, fried foods, and refined or packaged foods, and supplement with vitamin C, vitamin D3, and high-quality Omega 3 fish oils. While kefir and yogurt in small quantities will provide beneficial probiotics, avoid milk and other forms of dairy as they may worsen mucus production.
  • Drink plenty of water. If your child isn’t drinking enough water, add a splash of 100-percent fruit juice if necessary. In general, you should limit fruit juices during acute infection.
  • Most importantly, rest. Our body has the ability to heal itself given the proper nutrition and adequate rest. Sleep disruption is common during acute illness, which is why earlier than usual bedtimes and naps are critical to overcoming infection.

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