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My kids have always been prone to ear infections. I was wondering about what I could use in a SHTF situation to rid the infection? I know you don't always need antibiotics for an ear infection. My babies hate ear infections and I hate watching them suffer through them so any help would be great!
 

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hydrogen peroxide can clear out wax/germs I dono about using it though cause it may damage the ear drum... I am unaware of any herb you can put in your ear to fight the infection...
 

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Hydrogen Peroxide might burn. I don't know for sure but I would be cautious of putting that in my ear. However, I have a hole in my ear drum from it blowing when I was a kid so I am cautious about anything going into my ear. Even a teeny bit of water can cause problems for me. To the relieve the pain though, you can put a little warm vegetable oil in the ear for a minute then drain it out. It really REALLY helps the pain. Not so sure if it helps fight the infection at all though. I am also not sure about other oils, they make work as well.
 

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Earache self-diagnosis is problematic

Earache

Any severe earache requires medical attention. Only a doctor can make the proper diagnosis of otitis externa (swimmers ear), otitis media (middle ear infection), or other less common causes of earache including problems that are not infectious. These diseases have similar symptoms making self-diagnosis unwise and potentially dangerous.

Swimmer's ear prevention entails preventing moisture in the ear:

Careful drying of the ear after swimming or bathing
Shaking out excess water
Holding a hair drier on low heat setting at least 12 inches from the ear
Wearing earplugs while swimming

Homemade solution of 1/2 rubbing alcohol, 1/4 white vinegar, and 1/4 distilled water may be used as a preventive. Alcohol in the solution helps release the surface tension of captive water, helping the ear to empty naturally. Vinegar creates a slightly acidic environment which inhibits bacterial growth. Place 3-4 drops in each ear after swimming or bathing.

Do not use drops if there is a perforation in the eardrum or if there is a ventilation tube in the ear.

Immediately discontinue drops if any pain occurs.

Otitis externa prevention-preventing scrapes to ear canal

Careful cleaning of ears to avoid scraping skin in the ear canal.

Do not use objects (for example, paper clips, bobby pins, or fingernails) that may tear the skin. Most people have ears that are self-cleansing, and cleaning with a cotton-tipped swab is unnecessary and potentially harmful.

Middle ear infection is usually caused by a cold or upper respiratory tract infection This causes swelling at the back of the nose where the ear normally drains. The ear is connected to the nose by the Eustachian tube.

If the eustachian tube does not function properly, fluid can become trapped behind the eardrum. If bacteria grow in that fluid, then infection occurs (otitis media). Any severe earache that lasts more than a few hours, or even a mild earache that persists for more than a day should receive medical attention. An infection responds much better to treatment if therapy is started early, rather than waiting until it is more severe.

Most cases are treated with an oral antibiotic for 10-14 days. In some cases a decongestant medication is helpful. Pain medication may be needed for the first few days.
 

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you know, I remember a few years back there was talk of not treating ear infections, at the onset, but let them run their course, with pain meds, and only treat with antibiotics if it doesn't improve. Don't know that I like that idea. Never had to face it. DD #2 got the HIB vaccine and has had zero ear infections in her almost 6 yrs of life. DD #1, almost 15, had frequent ear infections until kindegarten where she had adenoidectomy and tubes in her ears.

Me, I was prone to ear infections, and mama used to use warm sweet oil(should be able to find it in some pharmacies near things like ammonia spirits, mineral oil, and cinnamon oil, stuff like that. I would also recommend popping the ears frequently if you suspect fluid may be building up behind the ear drum. Do this by holding your mouth closed and pinching your nostrils shut, then blowing like you are trying to blow your nose. This may be painful at first, but will be less painful than the full blown earache.

And definitly use the half rubbing alcohol, half vinegar if you are prone to swimmers ear.




bear in mind, some of my knowledge comes from nursing school, but a lot comes from personal experience, so take it for what it is worth, knowing this is what I would do if the shtf and I can't get to the doctor.
 

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Yeah I have heard the same thing CVORNurse about letting some ear infections run their course especially if you have a kid prone to them. If you get anitibiotics everytime, your body could eventually get used to the antibiotics and they will no longer work for you. At least, that is what I have been told by people in the medical profession.

If you have a hole in your ear drum, should you avoid putting warm oil in there ear or would it be ok?
 

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Yeah I have heard the same thing CVORNurse about letting some ear infections run their course especially if you have a kid prone to them. If you get anitibiotics everytime, your body could eventually get used to the antibiotics and they will no longer work for you. At least, that is what I have been told by people in the medical profession.

If you have a hole in your ear drum, should you avoid putting warm oil in there ear or would it be ok?
No, if I had a hole in my eardrum I wouldn't put anything in it unless the doctor had ok'd it.
 

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When I have an ear-ache I put coconut oil in my ears. We use it around our house for lots of things. It has anti viral, bacterial and fungal properties. When I have sinus pain I drip some into my nose. We cook with it and moisturize with it.
Sometimes peroxide won't go into my ear canal because of the swelling. Coconut oil slips right in. It sometimes takes a while to drip back out, but every minute it's in there it is fighting the nasty bugs.
 

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What all can coconut oil be used for? I haven't heard of it as a alternative medicine before. Does it hurt when you put it into an infected ear or actually, does it hurt on anything that you put it on, such as in the nose for sinuses or on cuts?
 

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SheDaisy,
You can learn a lot about coconut oil from the Tropical Traditions website. They even have a book about the health benifits. Another good book is called The Coconut Oil Miracle.
We use the oil for cooking, in our pet's food, moisturizing skin and hair, removing make-up, including waterproof maskara on mild scrapes and rashes, irritated skin in private places, could be used for diaper rash. Cleared up a case of feline acne on my cat when my doctor said it would require antibiotics. Cured my cats ear infection. I even use it after work to remove primer from my skin.
With it's anti-fungal properties I would guess it would help with athletes
's foot and other yeast/fungal problems.
It also can be used as a safe sunscreen.
Many people have treated thyroid problems with it and problems regulating body temperature
I'm sure there are other uses I'm forgetting.
We use it so much that I buy it in five gallon buckets.
 

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3libras,
I didn't pay attention to what exactly the temperature problems were since I never had any problem with it. It was something about not being able to keep warm. Cold fingers and toes. I read about it in the book Tropical Traditions sells.
 

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When you are anemic, your body has a hard time regulating its temperature due to the lack of iron. When I was anemic I was always cold, especially my fingers and toes. Maybe that is what the book was talking about?
 

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Ebin
I don't think it had anything to do with being anemic. It wasn't mentioned in what I read. Coconut oil doesn't have iron in it. If I still had the book I could look it up for you. I had borrowed it from my Father in law. When we go to his house I'll try to remember to look through it again and report back.
 

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I have a hole in my eardrum too from it bursting when I was a kid. I had alot of ear infections as a baby so I got tubes put in my ears. One of them fell out at some point but the other tube never feel out on it's own. The tube eventually grew to my eardrum and I had to have an Ear, Nose, & Throat specialist remove it, which left a hole there. I am very cautious about putting anything in my ear, since just a tiny bit of water trapped in there could send me into a full blown ear infection. However, I once had a sinus infection that was so bad, the pressure in my head was drilling up against my eardrum so when I couldn't stand it any longer, I looked for a quick fix online which is where I heard about the warm oil. I only had vegetable oil, so I warmed it up and dropped a few drops in. INSTANT RELIEF!! No pain at all. I have done this a couple of times now and have not had any complications from it.
 

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Thanks for the tip, Avarice! I have never heard that before. My kids are prone to ear infections....about 5 a year. I know that the ear and the canal is different of a baby then of an adult. Should we avoid putting oil into a baby's ear until a certain age?
 

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Thanks for the tip, Avarice! I have never heard that before. My kids are prone to ear infections....about 5 a year. I know that the ear and the canal is different of a baby then of an adult. Should we avoid putting oil into a baby's ear until a certain age?
If you vaccinate, and they havent already had it, check into the Prevnar vaccine. This is the culprit in many kiddo ear infections. DD, 15 didn't have it and had tons of ear infections, as did I as a kid. DD, 6 had the vaccine, and I don't think she has ever had an ear infection.
Also with babies, be sure to sit them mostly upright any time you feed them. Their eustachian canal is straight, so the milk can back back up into the ears from the throat if they aren't upright when you feed them. As we get older, the canal kinda starts to curve and it isn't such a problem.

But, to answer your question, I dont see where it would hurt to put a few drops in the baby's ear. I wouldn't do it if there is any drainage from the ear, as that can mean a ruptured ear drum. However to be totally safe, you may wish to ask your pediatrician or their nurse if a few drops of mineral oil as a remedy to the middle of the night, screaming, pulling at ears syndrome known as an ear infection is ok. I base the advice on drops as what I would do as a mom, not as what I know as a nurse.

PS- the eustachian canal connects the inner ear with the throat. That is why sometimes if your ear is stopped up it hurts to swallow- pressure backs up in the ears.

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And when posting this post I realized that I got my vaccines mixed up in an earlier post. HIB vaccine is for meningitis type bugs, not ear infection type bugs. The ear infection vaccine truly is the Prevnar( for children younger than 2 yrs. For older kids and senior adults there is 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23PS) . Here is a link: http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/immunizations/l/aa010101a.htm
 

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A few drops shouldn't hurt a baby. But remember, only use a few drops.

Does drainage happen only when an ear drum has been ruptured or can drainage happen with a regular ear infection?
 

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In a perfect world, the inner ear is sealed from the outer ear by the ear drum. In other words, you can have infection inside the ear, outside the ear, or both.

‘Otitis Media’ is an infection inside/behind the ear drum. 70-80% of these are VIRAL infections. Antibiotics do not work on viral infections, all you can do is treat the symptoms, use time & mother nature, and be Dr. Mom/Dad. The other 20-30% either are bacterial infections from the get go, or start off as viral infections and develop a secondary bacterial infection.

There is NO test to PROVE viral vs. bacterial other than getting a sample of the infection from behind the ear drum. Fevers, green pus, clear fluid, extreme pain – all can be caused by either viral or bacterial infections. ‘Strep throat’ swabs can be helpful in identifying bacterial infections though. If that comes back negative, the chance of the infection being viral is much higher and a ‘treat the symptoms/wait/watch’ approach is generally followed.

Pain control is CRITICAL. Adults do not give kids enough credit for how terribly bad an ear infection can hurt. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen MAY be enough, I often use codeine as well for a couple of days for kids that are suffering.

Antibiotics that are given for viral infections, or given for bacterial infections but not used as directed, may result in the development of resistant bacteria – those that no longer are killed by the antibiotic. Many of our antibiotics now have serious resistance issues country and even world-wide, and this is due for the most part from use of antibiotics when the patient had a viral rather than bacterial infection. Many patients/parents become VERY upset if they/the kid doesn’t get an antibiotic for their ear infection/cold/’flu’ whatever… despite the fact that it’s probably a viral infection.

“Doc, how long will it take for me to get well?”
“Two weeks if you take antibiotics, 14-days if you don’t.”

Sometimes either type will result in the eardrum bursting. This produces almost immediate relief as the pressure comes off, although it can be pretty scary. Most of the time the eardrum heals without problems, occasionally not.

The NUMBER 1 reason kids continue to get ear infections is (drum roll please)… a parent or caregiver smoking! Smoking ‘outside’ ‘only when the kid is in bed’ etc. DOES NOT matter… if they can smell the smoke (even on clothing), the nicotine byproducts paralyze the microscopic hairs in the respiratory tract (called cilia), kids can’t clear the snot out of their system as well, the snot acts as food for the germs, the second hand smoke products also impair the immune system, and off you go…

The NUMBER 2 reason is… not getting the HIB vaccine!. H. influenza B is responsible for most of the 20-30% bacterial ear infections noted above not caused by Strep!

The NUMBER 3 reason is… Eustachian Tube Dysfunction! These are the tubes that drain the inner ear to the area above the roof of the mouth. If the tissue in the area of the tubes (like Adenoids & Tonsils, which are Lymph Gland infection filters) swell up, the tubes can become blocked, pain ensues, and the germs multiply like mad in the blocked tube and ear.

Otitis Media is usually treated with pain & fever control, decongestants to try and open up the Eustachian tubes, fluids, rest, increasing the humidity in the living area, immune system boosters & proper nutrition, time, and Dr. Mom/Dad. If a bacterial infection is shown by throat swab, or suspected by history/clinical exam/etc. antibiotics may be prescribed along with above. It is CRITICAL that if antibiotics are started, they are finished on-time, according to the directions.

‘Otitis Externa’ is an infection outside the eardrum. It is much more likely to be viral, or even fungal. Exposure to dirty water (hot-tubs, rivers, lakes, community pools, etc) is one common cause, as is getting water in the ear canal and sitting – making a growth area for germs. The NUMBER 1 cause though is… kids sticking snotty fingers in their ears & planting the germs right there, LOL. Nose To Ear Disease… it often produces drainage even with an intact eardrum. Green foul smelling goo is characteristic of a certain type of bacterial infection usually found in dirty water. Clearish/milky discharge is more likely viral, but all bets are off in the external ear.

These generally are treated with ear drops, that may or may not contain a steroid as well, to reduce pain and swelling. Washing with Hydrogen Peroxide (3% household ONLY!), vinegar, olive (sweet) oil, or various combos is often helpful and soothing. Any medicine, be it RX or over the counter, should only be used if the eardrum is intact, unless it is a special type. Application of meds into the middle ear can result in hearing loss, pain, etc. The best way to tell is to look.

A simple ‘otoscope’ is available for about $10 in pharmacies. Practice with it on healthy folks and you will quickly get a feel for ‘normal.’ Holes in the eardrum are usually accompanied by pain at time of rupture with relief after it bursts, loss of hearing or ‘hollow’ sounds, and drainage. Holes are usually very obvious on inspection with a scope. Next time you are at your doctors, ask for a lesson on using your scope.

Other measures as above should also be used. Again, pain control matters, and finishing the medicines as directed REALLY matters!

Ear infections are a classic example of where the art & science of medicine cross. Distinguishing between a viral and bacterial infection is sometimes impossible in the exam room. Ya makes your best guess and does the best you can. In any case, always insist on effective pain and symptom control for the patient in balance with their symptoms, push the fluids, give their body every chance to get better – it’s trying very hard to do so, and finish any antibiotics that are started!
 

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It's true, adults don't give kids enough credit for how horribly painful ear infections are! I still get them about once or twice a year and I am immediately reminded of my childhood that was spent stuffing cotton balls in my ear and drinking bubble gum flavored antibiotics. Th cause was most likely my father's smoking in the household. I complained half of my childhood about how bad it was for me but it obviously wasn't bad enough for him to stop.

Anyways, I've a permanent hole in my ear from my ear drum busting as a child. There really isn't a whole lot of imformation on care and prevention and explanation on busted esar drums out on the web. Maybe you can answer this for me, resqdoc, most mornings I wake up with a moist feeling in my ear (the busted one, of course) and there will be a teeny tiny bit of yellowish stuff on the qtip with a kind of a foul oder. Also evey once in a while a bigger piece of yellowish greenish wax comes out on the qtip. My doctor tells me that it looks like a scab on my ear drum. Any insight, resqdoc?
 
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