A Surprising Trick To Ease Ear Infection Pain by Ian Male

Have Your Little Ones Got An Ear Infection? Make Them A Magical Onion Hat!

First off I suppose I should introduce myself to those of you who don’t know me. My name is Ian Male, I’m the owner and Head Trainer of Greenwich Training, a local health and fitness company, but also a Dad of two young boys.


So going forward I’ll be writing the odd blog for you lovely lot based (loosely) around all things health and fitness.

With the weather reluctantly changing and the nights drawing in, little ones tend to get hit with various ailments – especially those that attend nursery or play groups. These group environments seem to serve principally as petri dishes for infection at this time of year, and while it really is good for their immune systems to pick up the odd bug and fight it off, that doesn’t help you or I when they’re off colour, you’re off work and unable to leave the house with them!

My eldest son Archie is nearly 3, and last week his sniffles developed alarmingly swiftly into an ear infection. With impeccable timing as always, he waited until we’d purchased a family ticket for the Emirates Air Line then once the doors were safely closed and we were trapped inside a glass box with him for a minimum of 10 minutes, the infection hit.

Now I’m not making light of it, ear infections are horrible and at the time we showered him with cuddles and sympathy for the duration of our “flight”, but afterwards it’s much easier to laugh about.

By the time we made it home the poor little monkey was inconsolable, so my lovely wife Sal prescribed some Calpol which did the trick…for 10 minutes.

Then we were back to square one it seemed.

So I took decisive action and reached for my Nourishing Traditions book. These books, by a lady called Sally Fallon, contain some fairly unusual ideas and recommendations, but providing you‘ve got a crumb of common sense they’re an amazing resource that we’ve used many times with great success.

So I leafed through to the section dedicated to ear infections, and discovered the Onion Compress, or as I have now snappily re-named it, the Magical Onion Hat!

Stay with me.

Basically I cut two 1cm thick discs of raw onion and wrapped them thinly in bandage, then proceeded to strap these onto his ears using the remaining length of bandage, securing the whole thing with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beanie. I felt like a Blue Peter presenter, all fingers and thumbs, being watched by my sceptical wife…but to her amazement (and mine if I’m honest) after a few minutes Archie had calmed down noticeably and was able to fall asleep on the sofa.

When he woke up 2 hours later we removed his fetching headpiece and aside from the lingering stench of onions he was absolutely fine – no grizzling, no touching his ear, no complaints whatsoever. For the rest of the day he was back to his normal self, slept right through that night from 7pm – 7am without a murmur.

Hard to believe, I know. Let me explain the science behind this bad boy – onions and the fumes they give off help to move fluids, which is why you cry whenever you cut one up. These same fumes have a similar effect on the fluid in the ear canal, supposedly helping to relieve the pressure.

Pretty incredible, right? So next time your little one (or husband) is complaining of ear-ache, give it a try. Worse case scenario, it won’t work, you’ll be short one onion and they’ll smell a bit worse than usual for a few hours. Nothing a good soak in the tub won’t fix though!

If you’d like any more conventional health and fitness topics covered or you’ve got a question you’d like answered then feel free to get in touch with me via email here!


About Ian Male

Ian Male is the owner and Head Trainer of Greenwich Training, a local health and fitness company, but also a Dad of two young boys.

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