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Ear infections

Infection of the outer or middle ear causes pressure to build up. This pressure on the nerve endings causes pain. If there was no pain, there might be no warning that a serious ear problem existed.
The main cause of middle-ear infection (otitis media) is blockage of the Eustachian tube due to cold, allergy or some foreign particles in the ear. This causes fluid to build up in the middle ear. This fluid can cause swelling of the ear drum if infected by the virus.
Inner-ear inflammation is not nearly as common, but it does happen. It's caused by viral upper respiratory infections that extend to the inner ear. If you do get this kind of infection, take all the normal precautions you would for any other viral illness.
It is always recommended to seek medical attention, since the symptoms of such infections can be harsh:

  • Severe dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty maintaining a fixed gaze (not always)

Other things that can make adult ears ache are traumatic injuries, foreign bodies lodged in the ear canal, and referred pain from swollen lymph nodes in the neck caused by sore throats.

Main reasons for outer-ear infection
Outer-ear infection is caused by bacteria or fungi. Moist and wet conditions are perfect for the growth of these fungi and bacteria. Frequent swimming or exposure to water increases the chances of infection.

Threatments:

Heat can heal

Ear infections can hurt, especially middle-ear and outer-ear infections.
You can reduce the pain using these following methods:

  • Hot Air - Place a blow dryer about 30cm to 40cm from your head, this will dry out any water in the Eustachian tube.
  • Hot water bottle - Apply the hot (not too hot) water bottle over the ear
  • Flannel - Apply the warm flannel over the ear.
  • Olive oil - Put 2 to 3 drops of warm olive oil in each ear. You can warm up the oil by placing some on a pre warmed tablespoon.You can also try a herbal ear oil. Look for commercial products that contain garlic, mullein or St John's wort.

Caution: Do not put anything in the ear canal if you have signs of a perforated eardrum (any drainage from the ear), or if you are going to see a doctor soon.

HERBAL REMEDIES

Echinacea

This powerful immune-booster is the one to reach for when fighting an acute infection.

Typical dosage: up to nine capsules per day of 300 to 400 milligram; or 60 drops of tincture three times per day. Some herbalists recommend taking a dose every hour or two while you have symptoms.

Caution:If you're allergic to other members of the aster family, such as ragweed, you may be allergic to Echinacea.
Note: Do not use if you have autoimmune disease.

Astragalus

Traditional Chinese medicine revere this herb and is the one to take long-term if you or a child are susceptive to recurring infections.

Typical dosage: eight or nine capsules per day of 400 to 500 milligram or 15 to 30 drops of tincture twice per day.

Oregon Grape root

Studies show that berberine kills many types of bacteria. Berberine-containing herbs such as Oregon grape root do act as natural antibiotics. You may substitute other berberine-containing herbs (e.g goldenseal, barberry or gold thread).

Typical dosage: one teaspoon of tincture in water three times per day; or up to six capsules per day of 500 to 600 milligram.

Caution: Do not use if you are pregnant.

Garlic

Compounds in this very familiar bulbous herb kill many organisms, including bacteria and viruses. Many studies show that garlic is active against some of the viruses that cause cold and flu; the illness that makes your body susceptive to ear infections

Typical dosage: one or more fresh garlic cloves per day or up to three capsules per day of 500 to 600 milligram (look for products that deliver a dose of 400 to 6000 micrograms of allicin per day);
or put few drops of garlic juice into the infected ear.

SWIMMER'S EARDROPS

As soon as you feel the start of an infection, you can make your own antibiotic eardrops or irrigation solution.
Ingredients:
- 4 tablespoons white vinegar
- 4 tablespoons rubbing alcohol

and one of the following:
2 to 3 drops grapefruit Seed extract
or 3 drops of garlic tincture
or 3 to 5 drops Echinacea tincture

Sterilize a 120 millilitre bottle by immersing it in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Mix all ingredients in the bottle. Cap tightly and store out of light.

Typical dosage: put a few drops into the ear with a sterile eyedropper and allow to run out of the ear.

Lemon Balm

This pleasing tasting herb is antiviral, antibacterial and calming.
If an ear infection make you feel on the edge, than this herb may be just what you need.
Steep 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried leaves in 14 litre of hot water for 10 minutes

Typical dosage: 3 to 4 cups of tea per day or up to nine capsules per day 300 to 400 milligram.

Ginger

Studies have found that ginger is effective in relieving causes of nausea as motion sickness.

Typical dosage: 12 to 1 teaspoon of dried powder made into a tea or taken in capsules;
or 10 to 20 drops of tincture diluted in water three times per day;
or up to eight capsules per day of 500 milligram.
You can also suck on ginger sweets (as long as the flavoring comes from real ginger) or crystallized ginger.

Lobelia extract

Typical dosage: Trickle a few drops of lobelia extract into the infected ear and rub it gently.

Mango Juice

Take one teaspoon of mango leaf juice warm it slightly.

Typical dosage: Trickle it into the infected ear, drop by drop.

Onion powder

Make a paste from the onion power and apply this to the outside of the ear.
This should reduce the pain.

Onion

Bake a large onion until it becomes soft, wait for it to cool down until warm and tie it over the ear. This treatment should provide great relief when pain is severe.

Foods to avoid

Avoid sugar, dairy products, meat, and heavy meals until the illness is passed.