Can I ask what you did with the poultice? Did you rub it on his chest? Put it on the feet? Just curious.
We have used garlic + olive oil very successfully in our kids' ears for years. It has knocked out many a earrache. What I like to do is use a small glass bowl, like a custard dish (can't think of the real name for it right now), put some olive oil in the bowl, and set that in a pan of warm water. Heat gently until the oil is just warm, not too hot. Then I take fresh garlic, mince it up as fine as I can and put it in the oil. Using the butt of the knife, I smash the garlic pieces in the oil to get out all the beneficial oils and juices from the garlic.
Now I know that I have read to strain the garlic out, but we don't. I just use an eyedropper to carefully pull up the oil and put it into the ear. Massage to release the bubbles and have the child lie there for about 15 min or so, then I put a wad of cotton in there. Good to go.
Your kids will smell like little Italians for a day or so, but hey, it sure beats a trip to the Dr. and antibiotics. I like to do this at least twice a day, especially before bedtime. Seems to work good overnight.
Hope this helps somebody!