Childhood Ear Infections: What Every Parent and Physician Should Know

Childhood Ear Infections: What Every Parent and Physician Should Know


by Michael A. Schmidt, D.C.

(North Atlantic Books)

Ear infection is the most common reason parents bring their children to the doctor. Antibiotics given for ear infections account for 42 percent of all antibiotics prescribed to children. Yet a growing number of studies have raised questions about the safety and effectiveness of repeated antibiotics given to children. Pediatric allergist William G. Crook, M.D., contends that overuse of antibiotics themselves may be responsible for the rise in childhood otitis media. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control are investigating several serious outbreaks of drug resistant cases of meningitis and pneumonia in day care children who were taking prophylactic antibiotics for ear infections. In chapter one of Childhood Ear Infections: What Every Parent and Physician Should Know, Michael A. Schmidt, D.C., thoroughly reviews the scope of the problem of otitis media in children. He examines the common risk factors and reviews which children are most likely to be susceptible to otitis media. A summary of common care procedures and their effectiveness is also provided.

Chapter two focuses on the use of antibiotics relevant to otitis media. Many relevant studies about their safety and efficacy, specific to otitis media, are presented, along with the common complications of antibiotic overuse. The wisdom of prophylactic antibiotics also is challenged. In other chapters, Dr. Schmidt discusses tympanostomy tubes, including the rationale for the use, effectiveness, complications and other concerns; and he addresses concerns about hearing loss and delayed development.

"The Causes of Childhood Ear Infections" are discussed, focusing on allergy, infection, mechanical obstruction and biomechanics, and nutritional insufficiency. For example, in one study of 104 children with otitis media not responsive to conventional medical treatment, 71 experienced resolution after being placed on a diet that restricted food allergens. Another study showed that 30 percent to 50 percent of fluid-filled middle ears contain no pathogenic bacteria. Some contain yeast, some contain viruses and some contain inflammatory material related to diet and nutritional status. Also, the author presents evidence that changes in consumption of dietary fats may set the stage for inflammation that may persist unchecked.

The book presents a wide spectrum of symptomatic treatments that parents can safely employ at home. Included are homeopathy, herbs, nutrition, massage, acupressure and other general suggestions. A comprehensive guide on when to take a child to the doctor also is provided, as well as a thorough presentation of what to do with a child who has received repeated antibiotics.

Prevention of earaches in children and reviews of a host of factors, including breastfeeding, day care, diet, treatment of colds and others, are also discussed. The book includes the most comprehensive discussion of alternative treatments currently in print. This section includes detailed discussions of food allergies, homeopathy, chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, herbology and nutrition.

Used as either a text or required reading in many chiropractic colleges, this book is written with the layperson in mind, but is heavily referenced and full of useful clinical information.

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