Earaches and ear infections are not pleasant.
I think I had an ear infection once as a very young child, but I don't remember any ear pain or infection until I reached my mid-30s.
For some reason, I began getting ear infections at about age 35. At first, I was shocked to realize I had an ear infection.
After it happened several times within one year, I was dumbfounded. What was causing the ear infections?
I've had itchy ear canals for most of my life (due to a recently diagnosed problem with candida), so what I finally figured out was that I'd be out and about, grocery shopping or doing errands, and try to get the itching to stop in my ears - without washing my hands.
Oops. Not a good idea.
The second point I learned about my ear health is that sometimes, when showering and rinsing out my ears, I'd accidentally allow water to get into the ear canal. That was a problem, and it began causing outer ear infections.
After having a couple of ear infections and being placed onto antibiotics for them (because I was too naive to know better at the time), an older friend at church suggested that I try combining apple cider vinegar and water and placing drops of that mixture into the ear that was affected, four times the first day, and 3-4 times each day thereafter for the next several days until the pain and infection went away.
Please note that you must use apple cider vinegar, and not regular clear, "white" vinegar. I highly recommend the Bragg's Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with the "mother".
The first time I tried this, it worked! I was thrilled to not have to go on antibiotics, and not have to pay for a doctor's visit. Wow!
The second time I tried this method, the ear seemed to clear up, but then three days later, the infection returned with a vengeance! Oh, it was horrible! It developed into an inner and outer ear infection - not pleasant at all.
Back to the doctor I went, and had to be placed on antibiotics, because the infection had spread enough that it wasn't safe without antibiotics.
Interestingly, though, this is what the physician told me that day: apple cider vinegar is an excellent remedy for ear infections, but water cannot be used in the same mixture. Even sterilized water combined with apple cider vinegar will enter the ear canal...and then the water is no longer sterile. A wet ear canal actually creates a breeding ground for bacteria, which is what gave me the horrid outer ear infection that time.
The doctor told me this: feel free to use apple cider vinegar to treat ear infections. However, combine it with rubbing alcohol, which will help to dry out the ear canal and prevent a bacterial infection from developing. He also said that this natural remedy (or using Swim-Ear drops) is as effective and sometimes more effective than using antibiotics. Wow.
I used this method for the next several ear infections that started, and it has worked every time!
You can use an empty dropper bottle for storing the apple cider vinegar/rubbing alcohol mixture to keep it sanitary. Use one part of each liquid for maximum effectiveness; for example, 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 Tbsp. rubbing alcohol.
After swimming, these drops work very well in the ear canal to prevent swimmer's ear!
Another option is to purchase Swim-Ear drops. They're inexpensive, and only contain glycerin and alcohol, designed for people who tend to get swimmer's ear after swimming and need something to dry out the ear canal a bit after each swim.
Directions for using Swim-Ear drops or apple cider vinegar/rubbing alcohol drops: Place 4-5 drops into the ear canal, and tilt your head for a minute; then, tilt the other way and let the drops drain out of the ear onto a tissue. Do this 4-5 times a day the first day, and then 3-4 times a day for the next few days. Usually, the pain starts to subside within 1-2 doses.
One more thought: sometimes, as the drops drain out of the ear canal, the rubbing alcohol contained in them can burn a little bit. It doesn't bother me, but some children might be more sensitive to it. To help prevent that, before using the drops, put a little bit of Vaseline or coconut oil on a Q-Tip, and rub it on the OUTSIDE edge/tip of the ear canal, not inside it. This should coat the skin so that when the drops come back out, it should prevent any hot or burning sensation.
Keep in mind that I'm not a doctor nor a medical professional, nor do I play one on television. This is just what has worked well for my own ear infections. If you use this natural remedy for ear aches and infections but find that the pain is not subsiding, please see a medical professional for treatment.
If the pain begins to get more severe, then it may be more than this natural remedy can handle...but I've never had that happen.
Interestingly, I haven't had an ear infection for about a year now, since I stopped eating most sugar and flour, but if I do get itchy ear canals (usually a precursor), I use the Swim-Ear drops once or twice, and the itchiness goes away.
There are other natural remedies I've heard of friends using: warmed olive oil; honey; garlic. They're messy, and I'm a bit on the lazy side when ill or not feeling well, so I prefer using the Swim-Ear drops or apple cider vinegar/rubbing alcohol drops.
Have you tried anything else that helps stop ear aches before they turn into full blown infections?
Hi! I'm Julieanne!