Both of my scrugglets had chronic ear infections that had me running to the pediatrician’s office at least once a month. Maybe it was the sleepless fog from back to back pregnancies combined with the ease of going to the doctor for meds, but I never thought of searching for alternative healing methods when they were babies. They are six and four now and both had tubes put in their ears at a year and a half, which effectively ended the infections.
This weekend, however, following a nasty cold, I noticed a sense of fluid and fullness in my left ear. Three things sent me searching online for natural relief. 1) The horrible throbbing pain in my ear and head 2) which made my early pregnancy morning (all day) sickness 100x times worst and 3) my allergies to all of the “safe while pregnant” antibiotics.
In my panic, I tried several different methods…which did give me some relief. Unfortunately, I did not have the pain tolerance to scientifically test each method. I used the spaghetti test–throwing them all against the wall in hopes that ones would stick 😛
The first thing I tried was an OTC ear wax removal kit. This made it worse. I convinced myself that I had impacted ear wax. I am now convinced I was wrong.
Second, I mixed five drops of tea tree oil (which has antibiotic properties and I keep on hand for my home made baby wipes) with a teaspoon of olive oil and dropped a few drops of the mixture in my ear. I tilted my head and moved my jaw around to make sure the mixture got into the canal. The strong smell of the tea tree oil didn’t do much to help the morning sickness so I ended up lying on my right side, to keep the drops in my ear, on the edge of the bed with my trusty bucket below me just in case. The drops in my ear did not help ease the feeling of fluid in it since I had just added more fluid to it!
After a couple of hours of the tea tree oil treatment I decided to try the salt in sock method. I used an old toddler sock of my daughters filled it with salt and microwaved it. (I figured she wouldn’t mind since she refuses to wear socks except on the coldest part of the short Florida winter)
WARNING! THIS REALLY HAPPENED TO ME
DO NOT LEAVE THE SOCK IN THE MICROWAVE UNATTENDED!!!!
I knotted the sock and heated it for 30 seconds. I took it out and the salt was not really warm so I heated it for another 30 seconds. It still wasn’t warm so I put it in for one minute. At about this time, my daughter called for me to help her in the restroom so I walked away.
When I got back the knot on the sock was smoldering and black! I had to douse it with water while the kids asked me what was on fire!
I started again with a new sock and salt (my ear was throbbing and the smoke and tea tree smell were making me dizzy). The funny thing is that I put the salt in for the same amount of time as the first one and watched it. It didn’t even come close to smoldering.
I laid down with the salt sock over my left ear. The warmth was very soothing (I did have to reheat it a few times) and I could feel the pressure lessening though the throbbing got more pronounced. The theory is that the salt draws out the water. I wonder if this would work better with rice. Rice would hold heat better and it draws out moisture as well (hence its magical powers in cell phone drying).
The salt sock seemed to be working wonders. A normal person would probably have stopped there but I didn’t want to have to tape a sock on my ear for the next few days so I tried one last method.
I put a small amount of extra virgin coconut oil in my ear and a cotton ball prior to going to bed.
I woke up this morning with a little residual soreness but not fluid or throbbing pain so something had to have worked!
Have you ever tried any of these methods? If so, which one and did it work? I am going to have to remember these for next year when baby #3 has his/her first ear infection.