December was a rough month in our household with the flu and colds running rampant. Knock on wood; I’ve avoided the worst of it (probably get both tomorrow for saying that). Despite the runny noses and general feelings of yuckiness, we’re fairly competent at dealing with garden-variety colds and sniffles in our home. However, when Reina developed an earache one evening, we were stumped on how to treat the problem since it was Reina’s first. She began holding her ear, crying about the pain and it was difficult to console her.
Naturally, I headed to my favorite diagnostic tool www.mayoclinic.com (not to be confused with the food website mayoinit.com). The good doctors at the Mayo Clinic armed me with the knowledge that we should wait a day before visiting the doctor and that a warm compress on the affected ear would help ease her discomfort. Not too thrilled with the idea of spending a night listening to Reina moaning in pain, I did a search for home remedies and came up with two promising (if not unusual) options.
The first, and I’m not making this up, involves nothing more than an onion and a jar. Okay, it’s a bit more complicated to follow “Gramma Mary’s Ear Ache Remedy,” particularly if you have to go out at 10pm to Jenny Lou’s to buy an onion. Basically, you get a medium sized onion that will fit inside a glass jar with an opening big enough to fit over the ear of the person with the ear infection (or two jars stuffed with towels to dampen the sound of screaming to place over your ears). Bake the peeled onion in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius) for an hour (or until it easily pricks) and then place it at the bottom of the jar. Poke some holes in the onion so that the steam is escaping and then place the affected ear over the opening of the jar. The warm steam is immediately soothing and the vapors from the onion appear to fight the infection. Having only tried it once, we cannot attest to how foolproof this is, but I’ve heard of the onion remedy from multiple sources that swear by it. Reina ended up sleeping soundly through the night without any further complaints the next day. Added bonus, the kitchen smelled great while the onion was baking.
The second remedy is the essence of simplicity itself, though I’ve a bit of difficulty explaining it and have no way of testing it until someone gets another ear ache around here which is not likely to happen anytime soon. All you do (assuming you have an ear ache) is open your mouth wide and move your jaw to the opposite side of the affected ear and hold it in that position for a few seconds (if you have an ear ache in your left ear, move your jaw down and to the right). Repeat several times and, purportedly, the earache will be gone. The idea is that it opens up the plugged tube so that the trapped liquid in the middle ear can drain. Why do I think it likely works for some people? It is essentially the same technique I use when scuba diving to equalize the pressure in my ears when descending into the abyss. So when I read about the technique for ear aches, it caught my eye…er ear.
Bottom line, neither of these home remedies will hurt your child and they might just stave a trip to the dreaded hospital, so why not give them a try?
*Note: Home remedies do not replace professional medical advice. Consult your doctor beforehand.