Ear infections most commonly affect children
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 75 percent of all children will have an ear infection at least once before they are 3 years old. Infections of the middle ear, otitis media, are common in childhood, although you can develop an ear infection at any age. Traditional treatments for ear infections include taking a “wait and see” approach (many ear infections clear up on their own), prescribing antibiotics and, in especially persistent cases, placing tubes in the ear. Homeopathic remedies can treat ear infections and stimulate the body’s natural defenses.
Homeopathy is safe, even for infants. When choosing a homeopathic remedy, choose the one that most closely matches all of the presenting symptoms: physical, emotional and behavioral. One dose of a remedy, one to three 30C-strength pellets, should be given initially. If the remedy brings relief, then a second dose can be given when symptoms reappear. If no relief is seen, try a second dose about 30 minutes after the first. If two doses bring no relief, then usually another remedy is required. Homeopathy can work hand-in-hand with other treatments for ear infections; see the section below for more information to help you determine when an ear infection needs a doctor’s care.
When an illness comes on suddenly, almost violently, choose the remedy Belladonna. A person who will benefit from Belladonna is often described as “hot, red and dry.” Her pupils may be large, and her eyes may have a glassy or bright appearance. She may twitch or jerk in her sleep and be sensitive to light as well. If the symptoms of an earache are similar to what is described above, yet seem less intense, or if Belladonna does not work, choose the remedy Ferrum phosphoricum instead. A person who needs Ferrum phosphoricum may be red, but not bright red, hot, but not intensely so, and may have an acute earache. Ferrum phosphoricum is helpful at the beginning of ear infection symptoms.
For the person who feels whiny and clingy, choose the remedy Pulsatilla. This is the remedy of choice for the child who whimpers more than cries, and who wants to be held and fussed over. He may have a runny nose, a poor appetite and feel better in fresh air. This is the remedy of choice when an ear infection develops following a cold, comes on gradually or is accompanied by a low-grade fever.
On the other hand, the child who is actively uncomfortable, who is crying and fussy, will benefit more from Chamomilla. This is the remedy of choice for children who insist on being held and wail when you try to put them down; in fact, children who benefit from Chamomilla are the ones who cry inconsolably. These are the fussy children who seem to want something then turn it away when it is offered. You may recognize this feeling in yourself if you are irritable and want something but nothing seems to please you. A child who is also teething and pulling at his ears will benefit from Chamomilla.
If the ear infection is accompanied by a cough, choose the remedy Hepar sulphuris; this is the remedy of choice when pus has already developed and the pain is described as a sharp sticking pain, as if splinters were being stuck into the ear. If the ear infection is accompanied by nasal congestion and swollen glands, and if the Eustachian tubes are blocked, choose the remedy Kali muriaticum.
There are other remedies that may be beneficial; for best results, work with a trained homeopathic practitioner.
Seeking a Doctor’s Care
If your child is younger than 6 months old and has an ear infection, seek a doctor’s care in addition to whatever homeopathic remedies you may be using. If your child has an ear infection and is running a fever, follow your care provider’s guidelines regarding seeking a doctor’s care. Anyone on prescription medication or under the care of a physician should work with their doctor in the use of homeopathic remedies. Left untreated, an ear infection may cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. Hearing loss is especially problematic in young children as it can affect their ability to learn to speak. Ear infections can also cause the eardrum to rupture and, on rare occasions, spread to other parts of the head.