Childhood Ear Infections: A Parent's Guide

Childhood Ear Infections: A Parent's Guide

There are two basic types of middle ear infections, acute and chronic.

Acute infection of the middle ear, known as otitis media, is characterized by ear pain (you may notice your child pulling at tine ear), irritability, fever, chills, redness and bulging of the eardrum. It is usually preceeded by an upper respiratory tract infection.

Chronic middle ear infection, or serious otitis media, revolves painless hearing loss and inability to equalize pressure in the ears. Chrome fluid builds up, resulting in inflammation. Chronic ear infections are almost always due to food allergies or sensitivities. They are also caused by an immune system weakened by nutritional deficiencies.

Available Natural Treatments

There are excellent natural therapies that one can use to reduce the pal and eliminate an ear infection. First, start your child on echinacea or echinacea/goldenseal. This wills help boost the immune system to fight off the infection. Have your child take the echinacea every two hours.

Second, stop the consumption of any sugar products.

Third, alternate between hot and told cloth compresses to the affected ear: one minute hot followed by 20 seconds cold. This reduces the pain and congestion.

Fourth, take either a homeopathic remedy that matches your child's symptoms or a combination homeopathic earache formula. Another elation to help with the pain and refection is to use herbal eardrops from a health food store. Common ones include garlic and mullein oil. They should not be applied if the ear has been perforated. A medical professional should diagnose and follow the treatment.

The Recurring Ear Infection

Recurring ear Infections are most likely caused by food allergies or sensitivities. When a child eats a toed that he reacts to, there is an immune response resulting in fluid buildup in the ear. This fluid provides a breeding ground for bacteria or viruses. Children usually grow out of ear infections the eustachian tube (canal that drains fluid from the middle ear and balances gas pressure) is horizontal and has a small diameter when a child is young. As she grows, this canal becomes more vertical and enlarges. Fluid is then able to drain properly.

To treat the cause of this problem, one needs to identity the foods that are causing a reaction. Children with repeated ear infections should sec a practitioner of nutritional medicine to have their food sensitivities tested and treated You can also try them on an elimination/reintroduction diet. The most frequent offenders are dairy products, sugar, wheat and citrus fruits. The vast majority of children (80 to 90 per cent) treated for their food sensitivities never have a chronic problem with ear infections again.

If a child is breast fed, it is important for the mother to avoid common food allergens, such as homogenized dairy products and sugar, as the allergenic components are passed onto the child. For a smaller percentage of kids, environmental allergens can be a problem. Second-hand smoke increases a child's susceptibility to ear infections and should be avoided.

Children that are breast-fed until four months of age or longer have much less incidence of otitis media than those that are bottle fed. This is likely due to the antibodies and other immune factors that are passed on through the mothers breast milk. If using a bottle formula, it is best to make your own.

Chiropractic treatments to improve circulation and nerve flow to the neck can also be helpful in preventing ear infections.

Resist Antibiotics

Chronic antibiotic use weakens the immune system, destroys good bacteria in the body and creates antibiotic resistance. Prompt and proper treatment with natural therapies can often provide relief faster. Studies have shown that children who did not receive antibiotics had fewer reoccurences of ear infections than those who did. A comprehensive review of the scientific studies over the past 30 years by a panel of experts confessed this in the British Medical Journal.

Excerpted with permission from Your Child's Health by Mark Stengler ND and Angela Stengler ND.

Reference:
1. Froom, J. et al. "Antimicrobials for Acute otitis media? A Review from the International Primary Care Network." BMJ 315(1997):98-102.

Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.

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By Mark Stengler

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