Many of these medicines share similar symptoms. For example, Silica, Hepar sulph., and Mercurius are all equally indicated by the presence of painfully swollen lymph nodes in the head and neck that commonly occur with ear infections. If no medicine is strongly indicated, start with either Pulsatilla, if the child is more clingy than usual, or Hepar, if the child is somewhat irritable or severe pain is the predominant feature of the illness.
Casetaking Questions for Earaches
Character of the symptoms: Does the pain extend into the throat, neck, or behind the ear?
Describe the color and consistency of any discharge from the ear.
Modalities: At what time of day is the pain at its worst?
Is the ear tender or sensitive to touch?
How does heat and cold affect the pain?
How is the pain affected by stooping or bending over, motion in general, and lying down? Does it help to lie on the affected ear?
Does swallowing make the pain worse?
Other symptoms: What is the color and consistency of any nasal discharge?
Is perspiration or salivation increased?
(See the appropriate articles if the earache is accompanied by runny nose, cough, sore throat, or any other symptoms.)
Remedy Summary for Earaches
Give the medicine: every 3-6 hours for 2-3 days, stopping when there is definite improvement; repeat when symptoms begin to get worse again, or if no further improvement has occurred after twelve hours.
When to try another medicine: if there is no significant improvement after 12-24 hours
EssentialsEarache beginning suddenly with intense pain, with few prior symptoms of a cold (no thick or colored nasal discharge)
Bright red outer ear, ear canal, or eardrum without pus formation
Accompanied by sudden high fever (see chapter 3)
Ear pain extending down into the neck, or accompanied by sore throat or facial pain.
Essentials Early stages of earaches before pus has formed; symptoms similar to Belladonna but not as sudden or severe
Alternatively, give if Belladonna seems indicated but hasn’t helped.
Essentials Sharp, severe earache
Earache accompanied by thick, colored discharge from nose or ears
Chilliness and aversion to the cold or uncovering; desire for warmth
Earache worse in cold or open air or from cold applications better from warmth; worse at night
EssentialsMild disposition; craves affection and physical contact
Yellow to green thick discharge from the nose or ears
Ear pain worse at night and in a warm room.
Worse in general from warmth, wants fresh air
Little or no thirst
EssentialsExtreme irritability; the child screams and cries angrily, doesn't want to be touched or comforted, and may strike out
Severe ear pain
The child calms down when carried
Earaches during teething
Symptoms are worse when stooping or bending over and improved by warmth or being wrapped in warm covers
Clear nasal discharge, usually of watery consistency