Few things are more painful and upsetting to children as an ear infection. Like clockwork, ear aches seem to start on the weekend- when the pediatrician's office is closed! No one wants to spend hours in an emergency room with an inconsolable child, especially when ERs are filled with contagious people and more worrisome possibilities (like MRSA).
Caring for the discomfort of an ear infection at home until you can get a doctor's appointment is easy. Take a cotton ball, and dip it in garlic-infused olive oil. (Dip, not soak. It should be damp, not dripping.) Add 3-4 drops of lavendar essential oil. Frangrance/perfume oil will not do, as they lack the plant's natural chemical constituents. Work the cotton ball to fit in the outer part of the ear in the same way an ear plug would fit. Leave the cotton ball in place for 30-60 minutes at a time.
Both garlic and lavender have antibiotic properties, and lavender helps provide pain relief. The olive oil provides the medium to apply the garlic and helps prevent the lavender oil from drying out the skin.
To make garlic-infused olive oil, add to a crock pot chopped fresh garlic and cover with olive oil. Warm on the lowest setting for at least 2 hours, longer if possible. Strain out the garlic, bottle, and store in the fridge. Let the oil return to room temp before using.
Another step one could try would be to add the herb mullein. I know several people who have used mullein for their ear drops, but I, as yet, have not. In the past, I haven't had much need for mullein, so I never kept it in my herb stocks. Now with two small children, that may change. Any way to make a more effective ear drop is a good thing. To make a mullein-infused oil, take a glass jar, fill with mullein and pour in olive oil to cover. Try to leave very little air space at the top. Secure the jar closed and leave it in a sunny window all day, shaking the jar every few hours. Or, use the crockpot method if you don't have all day, or it's raining on the day you need to make the oil. You can put the garlic and the mullein in the oil to infuse at the same time.
Keep these oils in the fridge to prevent spoilage. Infused oils should be viable for one week if kept in the fridge. Longer than that, and you run the risk of botulism developing. Lavender essential oil, however, does not have these storage concerns. Just store it in th bottle it came in (usually a dark, amber, glass bottle).
If you already have a source for herbal supplies, that's great. If you need one, I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs. This is where I get my herbal supplies.
Live better, a little every day.