Dr. Pamela Smith, ND 

Dr. Pam has a family practice at The Nest Family Wellness Centre which offers naturopathic and midwifery care. She combines science-based natural medicine with conventional medical therapeutics. Learn more about Dr. Pam and the services offered by her clinic here, or book an appointment at www.drpamelasmith.com.

Check out the latest Ask Dr Pam Q&A and posts by topic below as well as her health and wellness posts.

Ask Dr Pam   

What do I do if I think my child has an ear infection?


It is always a good idea to see your healthcare practitioner to confirm an infection is present. Most practitioners are following the latest research of a “watch & wait” approach as most infections will clear within 24-72 hours. Your healthcare provider may give you a prescription with instructions to wait for this 24 hour period before filling it. Not all infections are bacterial in origin; therefore, antibiotics may not help and can lead to resistance.

Some simple changes in your child’s diet may provide relief from pain and help speed up healing. Here are some ideas:

  • Hydration is key with any infection: water, herbal teas, diluted juices, and broths are all ways to get more fluids into your child.
  • Eliminate all dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt) as dairy increases mucus production causing it to become more sticky and harder to drain.
  • In chronic cases, consider food sensitivities/allergies having an inflammatory effect on your child’s system making it harder for their body to deal with pathogens. Consult your healthcare provider about starting an elimination diet to identify culprit foods.
  • Other nutritional considerations may speed up recovery or prevent reoccurrence all together. Probiotics are the friendly bacteria found in our bodies and play a major role keeping our immune systems healthy; these beneficial bugs are particularly important to replace after a course of antibiotics. Incorporating a children’s daily multivitamin is also a good idea. Choose one that contains vitamin C, vitamin D, & zinc as these micronutrients assist the immune system.

Never place anything inside your child’s ear unless instructed by your child’s doctor. However, it is ok to place a warm, or cold – depending on your child’s preference, compress overtop of the ear. Here are instructions on how to use a warm onion as a drawing agent to help draw the infection out of the ear. Sounds crazy but it works!

For more about ear infections, check out this post and other responses to the question: I hate seeing my little girl in such discomfort when she has an ear infection, is there anything I can do at home to help her out?