Ear infections: Easy home cures can helpear-infection-280

Ear infections can affect children of all ages, what can you do to help? Helen Foster finds out

Often following a cold, ear infections can affect children of any age – but with babies often the only symptom is crying that you can't calm. A slightly older child might start pulling at their ear, giving you a clue.

Use painkillers

'Of all the conditions I treat in children, this is often the most painful and so it's best to use painkillers to tackle it,' says Dr Hesseling. Use them in their recommended doses, and if in doubt ask a pharmacist for advice.

Apply heat

'A towel warmed on a radiator and held against your child's head can help relieve discomfort,' adds Dr Ilves.

Keep the ear dry

'Water in the ear can make the pain worse,' says Dr Roked. 'If you need to create a barrier for bathtime, make an earplug from a little cotton wool with Vaseline smeared on one side. Put it in Vaseline side first.'

Eat more garlic

If your baby is getting constant ear infections, bolstering their immune system might help them fight these problems. 'Garlic is great for doing this, and you can deliver it via breast milk,' says Dr Roked. It may also help to have your baby in a more upright position when feeding because there's a belief that feeding some babies when they're at a horizontal angle may cause milk to travel into the ear tube and trigger infections.

Stop smoking

'Children of smokers have more frequent ear infections,' says Dr Roked.

When to see a doctor

If there is any discharge from the ear – which might indicate complications involving the eardrum. It's particularly important not to put anything in the ear, even drops, if there's anything coming out of it.

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