This winter has been a hard one. It seems like every week someone in my house catches something new, whether it be from visiting the doctors office, participating in Pre-school Round Up, not sanitizing the cart well enough when we go on our weekly shopping trips, or touching dirty money at work and not washing our hands enough. As luck should have it, this has also been one of the worst cold and flu seasons I have ever seen.
My job only employs 16 people, but we deal with the public all day everyday so we are subjected to a multitude of communicable diseases. Over the last 6 months we have seen strep throat, influenza, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, stomach bugs, sinus infections, laryngitis,pneumonia and the common cold come through my work as well as my home. All of these illnesses and doctors visits get extremely expensive when you have a $30 deductible each visit.
I have spent $240 on trips to the doctor this season, which is crazy, because before this year I was lucky enough to only have to visit a doctor for annual check-ups. As a Poor Girl, I can’t afford this. Thankfully my knowledge of natural remedies has vastly improved since the beginning of this flu season so when my son started tugging at his ears today and crying in pain I had a pretty good idea of how to treat him.
In August of this year, just before flu season started, I had a strong sense that I should read up on homeopathic medicine so I hopped on amazon and acquired a couple of informative books. The first book, “The Home Remedies Handbook” by the editors of Consumer Guide, is a compiled list of over 1000 old fashion ways to treat whatever ails you at home. Let me just say that just because they are old fashion doesn’t mean that they aren’t effective. Most of these remedies are tried and true not to mention just as good as modern medicine, some even include modern medicines.
The next book, “The Complete Book of Essential oils and Aromatherapy” by Valerie Ann Worwood is a comprehensive guide on how to harvest, distill, and use different essential oils to heal your body naturally and includes many recipes for common ailments.
The third resource I use, of course, is good old Google (or Pintrest for faster, easier to sort results).
The very first thing I did when Bubba started exhibiting signs of and ear infection was put him in a warm bath with the shower on so that the water would fill the room and help easy some of his discomfort and pain. While he was happily splashing away, I grabbed my books and went to work looking for effective treatments.
Luckily I have been building up my essential oil collection over the last few months because I made bath bombs for Christmas gifts this year and planned on making a few beauty products for myself this summer. Those oils that I have on hand right now are
-Tea tree oil (because I have had terrible luck with being stung by bees and wasps this year and tea tree oil kills the pain and swelling in the sting)
I also recently switched to using cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil when cooking instead of vegetable or canola oils since the former are much healthier for your entire body and have multiple uses outside of cooking.
You may ask what all this has to do with an ear infection. Let me explain in a bit more detail.
If you plan on using any type of 100% essential oil than you have to dilute it in a carrier oil before you apply it to the skin or risk burning yourself or your baby. If you are using the oils in a diffuser, the water will dilute the oil for you before it is sprayed into the air.
Each oil has certain healing properties, as I mentioned before tea tree oil is great at reducing pain and inflammation but it also has very strong antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties as well as many other beneficial healing abilities. It can be applied topically once diluted in a carrier oil or diffused into the air either in the shower, in a diffuser/humidifier, or in a pot of boiling water and inhaled to kill all sorts of viral and bacterial infections. It also has a strong odor which, once diluted and applied to the hair or sprayed onto your bedding, will send head lice running in the opposite direction (which I learned first hand when my nephew came over this past summer with a mild infestation of the little buggers. Not a single person in my house ended up with lice because of the miracle that is Tea Tree Oil!). In addition, it can be diluted in a carrier oil and massaged onto the effected area, in this case, the ear.
I first dropped 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil into the base of the tub and turned the shower on. The water diffused the oil into the air which allowed my son to breath it in so it could go to work fighting the infection from the inside. *Do Not consume the pure oil in any way! It can make you very ill but breathing it in its extremely diluted form won’t harm you unless you are allergic or sensitive to the substance. I suggest diluting one drop of the oil in 2 tablespoons of either coconut or olive oil and applying a small dab on the inside of the wrist to see if you have a reaction before using it in any other way.
Next I grabbed a dry, white cotton sock and filled it about 1/4 of the way up with dry rice, I tied the end so it wouldn’t spill out, and placed it in the microwave for a few seconds until it was a little warmer than my wrist.
Then I took 2 whole cloves of fresh garlic, crushed the cloves of garlic and place them in the pan, and added 1/4 of a cup of olive oil. I let it steep on medium low heat for about 20 minutes stirring often so that the garlic juices were evenly distributed in the olive oil. I removed it from the heat and strained it into a glass jar to cool. Once it was at body temperature, I used a dropper and applied 5 drops of the warm oil directly into Bubba’s ear, I gently pulled the ear back and up so that the oil would drain into his ear canal where it started to relieve some pain and fight off the infection.
I then placed the warm sock over his ear and made him lay with the effected ear up so that the liquid could begin dissolving any wax within the ear canal and Eustacian tube so that the infection could start to drain. He laid in this position for 15 minutes before I had him roll over and repeated the process with his other ear and allowed the first ears oil to drain and remove some more of the infection.
While we waited for the second ear to “rest” I mixed 3 drops of Tea Tree oil in 4 tablespoons of coconut oil and rubbed the solution along his neck and jaw line as well as around the outside and back of his ear. Then I filled up the humidifier and placed 15 drops of Lavender oil and 10 drops of Tea Tree oil on the water to diffuse into the room. As an added precaution I gave him a small dose of acetaminophen for the pain and to help him sleep through the night.
We repeated the process 4 times a day for the next 4 days, which was probably overkill since he was feeling completely fine on the 3rd day but it’s better to be safe then sorry. I have continued to use the tea tree oil in the diffuser just to kill any remaining germs that might be lurking in the house but even my cough has cleared up over the last week so I think we are in the clear..for now.