An ear infection occurs when a fluid, full of bacteria, build up behind the eardrum, causing pressure and pain. Normally ear fluid flows into the Eustachian tube and down the back of the throat. However if these tubes are blocked with mucus or inflamed it can be quite difficult for the fluid to drain. It is normal to have an earache every now and then as the result of catching a cold, or getting in water in your ear. However, it is not normal for an adult to have chronic earaches as it can mean that a latent virus, allergy or immune system deficiency is behind it.
The Causes of Ear Infections
Ear infections are generally caused by sore throats, colds or upper respiratory infections. Allergies are also a cause as is exposure to polluted air, which can cause swelling of the throat and Eustachian tubes and consequently pain in the air. However there are other risk factors that can lead to ear infections, particularly in children.
- Bottle-feeding instead of breast-feeding can cause children to experience more earaches, even into adulthood, because they are denied the antibodies they need to have a strong immune system.
- Vaccinations, especially in children, have been known to weaken the immune system and cause earaches.
- Smoke, especially second hand smoke can irritate the Eustachian tube, which can increase the odds of an ear infection.
- Eating too much dairy and sugar can create inflammation and mucus in the inner ear, that leads to pain
- Lack of sunshine and Vitamin D can increase your chances of developing an ear infection
Very often very simple life-style changes such as eliminating sugar, staying away from tobacco smoke and taking 5,000 IU of Vitamin D a day can help prevent recurring ear infections altogether.
Natural Treatments for Ear Infections
There are several things that you can do to treat your ear infection without resorting to the use of antibiotics, which in children especially, will only trigger a recurrence of the problem.
Apply Heat to Your Ear
Applying heat to your external ear can improve circulation to the region of the ear and improve lymphatic drainage. A hot water bottle, washcloth soaked in hot water, or even a hot shower can help remove inner ear congestion and relieve pain.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which makes it valuable for fighting everything from earaches dues to the flu, allergies and swimming. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps with pain, inflammation and irritation.
To treat your earache with tea tree oil, mix one drop of tea tree oil with two drops of coconut oil, olive oil or almond oil and rub it on the OUTSIDE of the ear for relief.
Garlic oil can be bought in drugstore and natural food stores and it works quite well for fighting either bacterial or viral infections in kids. At the first sign of ear pain, place a single drop of organic oil in your eardrum three to four times a day.
Using an air purifier can help to counteract poor indoor air quality, which is often five times more bacteria or virus laden than outdoor air. Many air purifiers sold today have an inbuilt UV light which helps to sanitize the air, which in turn gives your immune system and ears a chance to recover.
Remember that you should not put anything into your ear if you expect that your eardrum be perforated as that can make the ear infection worse.
Finally, try to avoid using antibiotics to treat ear infections. They can cause a biofilm to develop in the ear that can cause problems for years to come. Also antibiotics can compromise the health of your microbiome and immune system, diarrhea and can produce intestinal yeast.
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