Ear infections: Easy home cures can help
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.
'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.
'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.
'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.