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5 Things For Ear Infections

Ear infections are extremely common, striking three out of four children at least once before age three. Here are five things to ease the earache.

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Acetaminophen

While most ear infections resolve on their own without antibiotics, to reduce the pain in the meantime, take 500 to 1,000 milligrams (follow the package directions based on your child’s age) of acetaminophen (Tylenol).

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A Warm Compress

Apply a warm compress (a washcloth dipped in hot water and then wrung out, or a hot water bottle wrapped in a thin towel) to the ear.

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Blow Up A Balloon

Blow up a balloon (don’t have a child do this unless he’s more than six). Blowing up a balloon opens the eustachian tubes, allowing fluid to drain from the ears, speeding healing, restoring hearing, and reducing discomfort. If you’re having your child do this, however, make sure you watch carefully; children have been known to suck balloons into their windpipes.

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Photo: Thinkstock

Otikon Otic Solution

These drops contain several antibiotic and antiviral herbs, including garlic, mullein, calendula, and St. John’s wort, in an olive oil base. Studies show this combination of herbs can work just as effectively as anesthetic ear drops to relieve pain. Consult your pediatrician before using to make sure your child’s eardrum is not broken. 

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Osteopathic Manipulation

If your child has chronic ear infections, an osteopathic physician can gently massage your child’s face and head, opening up ear passages and allowing fluid to drain more easily. Look for an osteopath who is trained in and uses the Galbreath technique, the manipulation used for ear problems.