Otitis media (ear infection) occurs as a result of inflammation, swelling or an infection of the middle ear. Otitis media affects two thirds of American children by the age of two. It is the most common diagnosis in children and is the leading cause of visits to pediatricians.
Signs your child may be experiencing an ear infection include: crying and pulling at the ear, ear pain, fever, swollen throat or may be accompanied with an upper respiratory-tract infection. Otitis media commonly resolves within 7- to 14-days on its own, so the need for antibiotics is often unnecessary.
There are many natural ways you can decrease the occurrence of ear infections. They include:
- Breastfeeding has been shown to have a protective effect of ear infections. Breast milk is chock full of anti-bacterial, antiviral components to fight an infection. Bottle feeding your child has been strongly correlated with otitis media. If a child is bottle fed, it is important to avoid feeding him lying on his back. This could result in regurgitation of the bottle contents in the middle ear, leading to inflammation.
- Avoiding Food Allergies – Food allergies, such as wheat, egg, peanuts, corn, citrus, chocolate and dairy have been correlated in 85-93% of children who experience otitis media. Avoidance of these inflammatory foods will decrease the occurrence of ear infections. In addition, avoidance of simple sugars (i.e. sugar, honey, dried fruits, concentrated fruit juice) is important as simple sugars have been shown to inhibit the immune system.
- Increasing Omega-3 intake – Omega-3’s are anti-inflammatory, which is especially helpful with otitis media. Most people are omega-3 deficient, since it is impossible to get the needed amount in our diet. Being deficient in omega-3s results in increased inflammatory prostaglandins. By replacing the omega-3s, we tilt the pathway to anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.
If your child is experience ear pain, they should be evaluated at Brannick clinic. There are many natural therapies that decrease the duration of the infection and can also help alleviate the associated pain.