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Ear Infection Information

The most common cause of earache is infection, either of the outer ear (otitis externa) also known as "swimmer's ear", or, the middle ear (otitis media).

The middle ear is closely connected with the nose and the throat and any inflammation of these parts easily spreads to the middle ear. Thus, earache may be a complication of the common cold, tonsillitis, influenza or the infectious fevers of childhood. Children often can't convey that they have pain in the ear. If a young child is crying, unwell, feverish, pulling at the ear or has a red ear, suspect earache. High altitudes and cold temperatures increase discomfort and can worsen an infection. Occasionally pain in or near the ears may be a symptom of neuralgia, tooth abscess or other facial conditions.

All cases of earache should be seen by a doctor, who has the proper equipment to examine the ears to see what the problem is, and to provide the correct treatment.

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What can cause ear infections?

Frequent middle ear infections, or recurrent otitis media, affect 30% or more children under the age of six. This is the most frequent diagnosis in clinical medical practice. A variety of different bacteria and viruses can cause middle ear infections. One of the leading causes of ear infection in children is a bacterium called branhamella catarrahalis (B-cat). Another cause of frequent ear infections in children is food allergies.

What natural remedies can help with ear ache and infections?

Avoiding mucous forming foods is important, as this could contribute to the problem. Using natural decongestants, such as is found in the herbal combination HAS or Allergy Check can help dry this up, which can help incredibly. The avoidance of common allergenic foods such as wheat, dairy products, oranges, peanut butter, citrus fruits and bananas may be helpful.

Garlic oil has been used as an ear drop for children with an ear infection. This is difficult to purchase but can be made by getting a few cloves of NZ garlic, peeling these, pricking them and then submerging into enough oil to cover them (olive). Leave in a warm place for 7-10 days. Remove the garlic cloves. This is Garlic Oil. A Naturopath prescribed a garlic oil extract as an ear drop for a child. Within 2 days of use, the child's ear infection had gone and the child required no further medical attention. However, if ear aches are a problem in your family, I would strongly recommend you seek advice, before putting anything into the ear. Do not use with a perforated eardrum or grommets.

De Stuff from Kiwiherb is a gentle herbal formula to help promote clear ears and nasal passages in children and adults. A liquid herbal formula suitable for all ages. Assisting in the relief of colds and runny noses. Flavoured with peppermint essential oil and natural orange flavouring. Contains Elderflower, Echinacea & Ribwort.  De Stuff for kids & De Stuff for adults

Iron - Dizziness, earache and vertigo can all be related to low iron levels in the body, so an iron supplement may be essential. Make sure it is a carefully balanced combination containing not only iron but vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin C, as these are all needed for the proper absorption and utilisation of iron in the body. This is our own formula Superior Iron or we have a chewable tablet Iron Chews.

Vitamin A is specifically required to support the immune system and protect mucous membranes. Whilst, Echinacea, Golden Seal & Garlic are all helpful for a natural antibiotic action.

Mullein ear drops can be use, so long as the eardrum is not perferated. 

Nutritional and Herbal support for Ear Infections includes:

Zinc and Vitamin C - Enhances immune response and aids in reducing infections in the body.

Vir Defence - A herbal formula in a capsule containing Olive leaf and anti-fungal herbs.

Sambucol Immune - A liquid immune system booster, which combats both viral and bacterial infections.

Earmed Relief - A Homeopathic remedy specifically for earache.

Eutherol - Great tasting menthol liquid herbal formula that is a powerful antiseptic/antibiotic. May be used orally and dropped in the ear.

Some interesting points on Ear Infections...

  • Avoid wheat, dairy products, corn, oranges, peanut butter, simple carbohydrates including sugar, fruit juice and bananas.
  • Take internally a natural antibiotic formula, such as Echinacea/Golden Seal liquid to fight infections.
  • To alleviate pain, warm garlic oil and mullein has been used to help treat the infection.
  • Rotate your foods to reduce possibility of allergies.
  • Take a vitamin supplement to help build up the body, so it can fight infections.
  • Do not blow your nose if you have an ear infection. Keep the ear canal dry. Retained soap and water in the canal can be dangerous. Put cotton in the ear canal when showering or bathing.
  • Do not go swimming until healing is complete.
  • Chewing on chewing gum or blowing up a balloon can help to unblock a blocked ear.
  • If there are symptoms of dizziness, ringing in the ears, bleeding or a discharge, sudden pain (or a sudden lessening of pain) and hearing loss in one or both ears, contact your health care provider immediately. These symptoms could indicate a ruptured eardrum.
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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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