So it all started with a phone call from school. I knew Chloe had looked a little tired that morning, but it was the end of the week and she is usually tired by Friday as this is her first year in full time school. I didn’t give it much thought, and she had brushed me off when I asked her if she was ok that morning. She just said she was tired but really wanted to go to her reading group that day.
Her teacher called about mid-morning and said Chloe just wasn’t herself, crying a lot and wasn’t feeling well. I picked her up and could tell right away by the glassy eyes that she wasn’t well. She cried all the way home about missing her reading group, but when I tucked her in bed she fell right to sleep.
She woke up saying her ear hurt and I called the chiropractor to get in for an adjustment right away. She took a peek in her ears, did an adjustment or 2, and did some drainage massage. We swung by the store on the way home for some garlic/mullein ear oil (yes I know they can be made but with the baby and another toddler I just didn’t have the time) and started what would be a very long weekend. We really kicked this ear infection well though, and I wanted to share how we did it!
1. Chiropractic adjustments to address the ear infection/drainage.
This is vital. At the first sign of the ear hurting our chiropractor was the first person I called. There are simple, gentle adjustments that can be done to help with drainage flow connected to the ear. Everything is connected to the spine. Certain points in the cervical spine will be subluxed with ear infection and fixing that helps with healing. We went a total of 5 times within 2 weeks and it was worth every penny to me. After one of the visits Chloe told me that she could feel “water” draining in her ear. After one of the last ones we had an hour later she could hear 100% better.
2. Let the “bug” run its course.
The vast majority of ear infections are viral. They just have to run their course. Our pediatric chiropractor said upwards to 80 percent of them are viral. And it takes time to let a virus run its course! Can I just be real here a minute? Man, it was hard to watch her in so much pain. This was my first real ear infection in the house, and it tore at my momma heart to see her sick. I kept telling myself, maybe tomorrow it will be better – because the minor illnesses that have gone through my home have been quite short lived. This was 5 (five!) days of pain (It started in one ear for about 3 days and then when that one got better it had moved into her other ear!). 5 days of religiously keeping up on natural remedies. It was exhausting.
3. Ease the pain.
So while we wait on the bug to run its course we have to do something about that pain. I was surprised at how well the garlic/mullein ear oil that I had helped. We dripped these in her ears hourly at some points. She would tell me how much it helped, and I really think it took the edge off during the day. I also used the oil with a drop of lavender essential oil to massage downward from the neck behind her earlobe downward as our chiropractor showed me how to do to help move any drainage. She said this helped with pain a lot too. I used a warm coarse sea salt pack on her ear/neck area after dripping the oil. I followed the instructions on the salt pack from THIS article. She LOVED this – she had the salt pack on most of the day – it was very soothing to her.
4. Boost the immune system.
I had her taking a whole food sourced vitamin C and cod liver oil to boost the immune system. I also used Plant Therapy’s KidSafe Immune Boom roller bottle on her feet at bedtime. And since the majority of the immune system resides in the gut, she was taking quality probiotics daily. I even added this probiotic that has a strain that is specific to the ear. She was not up to eating much, even her favorite bone broth, but she would sip on these immune booster smoothies here and there. I was also making her nap and letting her sleep as much as she wanted. Rest for the immune system to fight is vital. Two of the nights I had her go to bed much earlier than her sisters much to her dismay, but it was worth it – she always passed right out and slept hard. And I knew she needed it. There were a handful of times I used some chamomile tea in her bath, or had her take some Rescue Remedy to help her relax so she could just rest.
5. Naturally help kill the bug.
I actually started out dripping my breastmilk in her ear, but my toddler is in a process of weaning and it was getting harder to hand express or pump as my supply is significantly different. If you are a breastfeeding momma your breastmilk is naturally antibacterial and antiviral! Yeah! So go for it and drip away! I did a drop in each ear about 5 times per day. After a couple days of the breastmilk dripping and deciding that it just wasn’t working for my weaning supply, I switched to dripping collodial silver in her ears to have the same effect on the bug. I actually feel like within 12 hours of starting this was when I saw her turn a corner.
6. Flush and detox the lymph.
I wanted the bug OUT! I kept her drinking this simple hydrating electrolyte drink since she wasn’t into eating much. And we also did dry brushing and simple detox baths. At one point she took a warm bath 2 times a day mostly because she asked for it – it was very soothing and made her feel better. To be honest the bath was when I saw her perk up the majority of the time. I did the dry brushing and then she took a warm bath with a cup of epsom salt and baking soda. I used lavender essential oil and Plant Therapy’s KidSafe Sweet Dreams blend in the bath at night to help with sleep.
So what did we do after this epic ear infection?
I treated as if she were still sick for about 2 weeks after. I religiously kept up on the gut nourishment with bone broth based soups, probiotics, and I even finished out the bottle of the probiotics that are specifically designed for ear health. Bedtime on time was a must, and I even said no to a family gathering the weekend after she was sick. I could tell she was still getting her strength back, and we can always see family another day.
I kept sugar at a minimum, and while that is usually always the case for our house anyway, this all happened the week before Christmas…of course! She had one cookie on Christmas day, and I just didn’t make any or have it around. It wasn’t that big of a sacrifice to keep her immune system happy and not give it a sucker punch with a bunch of sugar.
For now I am also keeping her off milk. Even though she has not had chronic ear infections, I am just being cautious since dairy and ear infections can be connected. Our raw milk share decreases from January until May anyway, so we don’t have a lot of it around. I will bring it back in this spring.
And finally, I am being more consistent on being at our monthly well adjustment at the chiropractor. It is so easy for me to put it off this time of year with the roads being so snowy – but I really have noticed how monthly adjustments keep my kids sleeping well, and overall healthier.
So tell me! Have you treated an ear infection naturally at home? What worked for you?