BY BRIGITTE MARS
Until recently, antibiotics were the first line of defense against ear infections. But raising concerns about antibiotic resistance—along with a convincing study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006—have changed that. The study, conducted in children ages 6 months to 12 years, found that waiting 48 hours to allow the infection to clear up on its own was just as effective as treating it with antibiotics.
Of course, 48 hours with the pain, fever, and general misery of an ear infection is hardly an appealing alternative. Relief may come in over-the-counter pain and fever reducers like acetimenophen or ibuprofen, but another and more holistic way of addressing the problem is homeopathy.
Homeopathy is very specialized, so there’s not one remedy that will work in each case. Here’s a list of the most common and effective treatments, and what they’re good for. Dosing in homeopathy is not weight-dependent, so children take the same dosages as adults. See the packaging or speak with a homeopath for guidelines.
Ear pain comes on suddenly, the ear is red, and the face is flushed. Often occurs after exposure to cold, dry weather.
Burning discharge with a roaring sound in the ear. Hearing is impaired. The child seems fearful and anxious.
Sudden, violent, boring pains that seem to buzz through the ear. Pus and inflammation are present along with a hot, red ear. Usually the right ear is affected. Child may cry out during sleep.
The child has unbearable pain and is frantic and irritable. She wants to be carried. One cheek may be pale, the other flushed. Often occurs during teething. Warm applications make the pain worse.
For ear infections in children who are strong and stocky. They may get cold more easily, yet the head sweats at night. Personality is more earthy, plodding. Fears of ghosts and frequent nightmares are not uncommon. Asks serious questions.
For earches that occur after cold, damp weather exposure. At night, the pain is worse.
Gradual-onset earaches. The child's face will be flushed and he will be very sensitive to noise.
Pain from the throat to the ear, with those areas being sore to touch.
For ear infections with mucous buildup in the eustachian tubes and diminished hearing. There may be cracking noises when the child swallows. This remedy is also used if there seems to be hearing impairment following an earache.
Use when the ears hurt due to a cold wind, not from infection, right ear being the most affected. Warm pressure brings relief, and cold increases the pain.
Ears hurt more at night and are worse in damp weather conditions. The child perspires and has a sickly odor, excessive saliva, a swollen tongue with teeth impressions on the side.
Use when the outer ear is red, hot and swollen. Pain is worse at night, throbbing and darting, which may make hearing difficult. The patient feels cold and irritable and wants to be covered. Child is emotional and weeps easily; she may be open and loving but with changeable moods. Can sulk and be irritable. There may be thick yellow discharges.
These children tend to be snotty-nosed and messy, regardless of frequent bathing, with a tendency to be hot. They may have foul smelling yellowish discharges.
Brigitte Mars is the author of Rawsome! (Basic Health Publications, 2004), The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine (Basic Health Publications, 2007), Beauty by Nature (Book Publishing Company, 2006), Addiction-Free—Naturally (Healing Arts Press, 2001), and Healing Herbal Teas (Basic Health Publications, 2001). Her website is brigittemars.com.