Ear infections are sadly very common in children. The main cause for an infection is fluid building up in the eustachian tubes where it attracts and collects bacteria and germs. These then multiply to cause an infection. They often follow on from a cold. It can be extremely painful for children and sad for you as a parent to see them suffer.
Common symptoms of an ear infection:
• Tugging the ear (baby)
• Difficulty sleeping
• Loss of appetite
• Fluid oozing from the ear
Your paediatrician might prescribe medicine or even antibiotics but there are a few things you can do at home to help elevate the pain your child is going though.
1. Warm compress
This is very good for reducing the pain. Take a very warm, wet compress and hold it to your child’s ear for about ten minutes at a time. If you have an older child suffering from an ear infection and they are snuggled up in bed, it is a good idea to pop a hot water bottle under their ear. It can be there for as long as they like. The heat against the ear can really help with soothing the pain and discomfort.
2. Olive oil
Lightly warm some olive oil and put a few drops into your child’s infected ear. This can help alleviate inflammation and pain.
3. Keep your child hydrated
It is important that your child takes in a lot of fluid when they have an ear infection. When your child swallows, it helps open the eustachian tube so the trapped fluid can drain.
4. Lift your child’s head up
If you have a baby that has an ear infection, you can place a pillow under their mattress to elevate it and therefore raise your babies head. This will help with their sinus drainage.
If your older child has an infection, give them an extra pillow to lie on so their head is also alleviated more than normal.
5. Ear drops
Im sure your doctor will want to prescribe ear drops for your child if the infection is severe. However, if it has not gotten worse you can apply some homeopathic ear drops which normally contain ingredients like garlic, lavender and olive oil. This, like the pure olive oil will help to reduce the inflammation and pain.
6. Let them rest
It is very important that you let your child do as little as possible when they have an infection.
Rest is truly the best remedy and the infection should hopeful clear up within a few days.
What to do if plan to fly?
If your child has a bad infection, the best advice would be to postpone your trip. Flying can really aggravate the infection and cause severe pain to your child. However – if you see your child’s infection clearing up and they are over the worst of it and you need to get on that flight then you can get a few things to help. Try and pick up something called “earPlanes”. They are ear plugs that help equalise cabin pressure. They really do work and are great to use when your child is a little congested so that the pressure changes don’t bother them as much. They come in adult and child size.
You might also find something called an EarDoc which is also a really good tool to have in your travel bag. The EarDoc is intended to help alleviate ear pain due to ear infections or changing cabin pressure on the airplane. The EarDoc gives a vibration (adjustable speeds) that you apply right behind the ear. This helps open up the Eustachian tube to relieve pressure.