Natural treatments for EAR INFECTIONS in children
A couple weeks ago Fox got a cold which developed into a secondary ear infection. Our kids are going to get sick. It’s a natural part of growing up. What’s not natural, is for them to be bombarded with antibiotics for infections that can often self-resolve…with a little bit of help. If their bodies don’t learn to fight these infections by themselves, they may land up in the antibiotic cycle as they have a weakened immune system and no time to build up their natural immunity.
You should suspect in ear infect if your child is pulling or tugging his/her ear, has a fever, has red hot ears, and shows signs of sharp shooting pains, or if they are old enough, they will tell you, in between tears, because ear infections are painful.
And if you opt to treat it naturally, you are in for a hard 3-4 days. That’s the reality, but SO worth it for your child’s future health.
So here’s the plan:
Probiotics: Get a good (not cheap) probiotic into them immediately and dose them slow and steady throughout the day. Some brands that I like are Bioceuticals baby biotics or Junior factors, Orthoplex multiflora, The Kefir Company Kefir or the most powerful probiotic on the planet – Vivomixx. If you chose vivomixx consult your health practitioner for dosages. It is very strong!
Pulsitilla: is one of the best remedies for ear infections and also helps with clingy, whining children. I usually dose every hour until symptoms recede. Kids generally love the taste of the small white pilules.
Fevers: Vibrocol: I manage fevers with this homeopathic remedy. It comes in ampules (vials) and works wonders and quickly. There are clinical trials on the effectivity of this and Dr Leila Masson (paediatrician) advises to use this one. If you can’t get Vibrocol by Heel, try Belladona.
I am not comfortable with my kids fevers going over 40.5C especially at night where I can’t monitor them closely, so I will give them Nurofen if they are particularly miserable. You need to be concerned with febrile seizures when monitoring fevers. And no Nurofen for asthmatics.
For fevers I buy dairy free, refined sugar free ice lollies which makes a nice treat and helps to lower fever
Weleda earache relief ear drops: You can either buy this or make your own with garlic and olive oil. I suggest warming the drops to room temperature before putting them in. I had to do this when Fox was sleeping as he would not have a bar of it. If you can, apply heat after – like a warm water bottle. This was easier when I was breastfeeding as I could put them in when my child was feeding on each side. You can also use breastmilk.
Echinacea: I use the Kiwiherb range, as it’s the best. According to Phil Erasmus (amazing medical herbalist) who developed this product (and writes our Naturopathy textbooks) if you are already sick, you need a loading dose. I did 5-6 x times a day the dose for his age, for 4 days. Make sure your echinacea is good quality and is the root. Quality, genus and part of the herb used is critical.
Vitamin C and Zinc. I gave him the adult dose of Ethical Nutrients Zinc Zingles which has 24mg of zinc and 1000 mg of vitamin C. This is above the recommended RDI, but when we are sick our body required more vitamin C for short periods of time. My kids are also used to them. Don’t give this on an empty stomach as it can upset tummies and make them (and you) feel nauseous. You can always give a quarter or a half of tablets. Make sure your child is old enough to chew or suck these – you need to be aware of choke hazards for under 3.
Stay hydrated: My child loves rooibos/Redbush tea, so I put manuka honey in this and let him drink as much as he wanted. You can use elderberry or echinacea tea by Pukka which tastes great. Make sure your child is passing urine normally. If not, he may be dehydrated and then you need to see a doc ASAP.
Nutrition: Cut the dairy, gluten and sugar. These lower the immune system and put more of a load on the body as they have to “fight” these foods. You want to ease the load and support the body by having things like bone broths, nutritious soups and fermented foods. Don’t be alarmed if your child doesn’t eat much during this time. You cannot rest and repair if you are continually digesting.
It is always useful to go the doctor so they can check the infection is going in the right direction. Before I had my otoscope (inner ear examination thingy) I took my first child to the doctor every other day to assess the infection. All three times they gave me a prescription for antibiotics and gave me a “blank look” when I told them I’d try my natural methods first. One doctor told me “If I want to waste my money it was up to me”. I don’t feel it was a waste :O)
I am happy to say that 6 years later my first child has never had another ear infection after an initial cluster of them, and round two has began successfully with my second child.
If you are in any way concerned about your child, take them to the doctor. There is no harm in getting a second opinion on the health of your child. Kids can turn very quickly, so keep a close eye. You can also do a phone call check-up with the practice nurse or Plunket health line, who will probably tell you to get it checked within the next 6 hours anyway.