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Can Zinc Fight Off Ear Infections?

Posted Apr 01 2010 3:08am 1 Comment

Ear infections can occur in people of any age; from infancy to old age.  They are probably the most common childhood ailment.

can zinc fight off ear infections

Zinc is Good for the Body but Can Zinc Fight off Ear Infections?

Zinc can be effective for helping to treat or improve many conditions.  This is because zinc activates the white blood cells in our bodies to fight infections we encounter.  It can also help protect the body against viruses.

The boost in our immune system can help increase our resistance to ear infections and other ailments, but it will not prevent us from getting ear infections.

Zinc has been suggested to help infections and strengthen the immune system and prevent infection but scientific studies have failed to produce support for these claims.

How to Fight Off Ear Infections

When children suffer with the pain of ear infections it is painful for them and their parents.  We want to relieve their suffering.  There are some things you can do to help reduce your child’s chance of getting an ear infection or to treat one that they may have.

For infants it is important that you do not prop their bottle up.  They need to be held in an upright position while feeding.  When lying down, milk can travel into the Eustachian tube in the inner ear causing irritation.  Breast milk is supported to help lower the risk of your child getting ear infections.

A natural home remedy to help fight off ear infection is to balance the pH in the ear by placing a few drops of pure lemon juice in the ear.  This creates an environment in which the bacteria cannot survive.  Keep your child laying on their side with the problem ear up, place the drops of pure lemon juice into the ear canal and have them remain in this position for several minutes while the juice is absorbed thereby giving it time to work.  This method usually takes about 8 hours to a full day for the effects to be noticed.

Identify Possible Causes to Fight off Ear Infections

If your child is constantly getting ear infections you may need to look for alternative causes.  Check with your child’s school or daycare to determine if this is common in all the students there.  Perhaps a setting with limited enrollment might be healthier for your child.  Teach your child to use antibacterial hand sanitizers.

If your child constantly has a runny nose, sneezes and cannot fight off ear infections you might suspect allergies. Have your pediatrician test your child for allergies or refer you to a specialist to manage these allergies.

Frequent and recurrent ear infections can be harmful to your child’s health; it can cause long term damage to their hearing and make them generally uncomfortable.  It is important to determine the cause of the ear infections and stop them from occurring.

Comments (1)
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Whoa..there are several poor pieces of advice here, with no medical basis. First, the idea of putting lemon juice in a child's ear is terrible! The concept  of acidifying the outer ear canal to prevent infections there has some truth, but there are 2 problems with this; 1) children don't usually get outer ear infections, they get middle ear infections and putting drops on the other side of the eardrum is a waste of time, and 2) Lemon juice has sugar in it which, if anything, will promote the growth of the yeast that it was intended to prevent. In adults who are prone to outer ear infections (also known as "swimmer's ear") we recommend putting vinegar, or acetic acid, in the outer ear for prevention. But only on the advice of a physician as it can be overly drying and irritating and may cause its own problems. 

Second, it does not matter if other kids in school get ear infections or not, they are not directly contagious. Kids pass on viruses to each other, and some who are prone to it will get an ear infection as a result, other may not. Hand sanitizers have never been shown to have an effect in young children to prevent passing on viruses to each other. Probably because they just cough and sneeze on each other anyway. 

Lastly, using Zinc has pros and cons. But its only been shown to shorten the duration of colds by one day, and it should never be used as a nasal spray since its been shown to cause a permanent loss of taste and smell in some cases. Also, it should never be given to a child unless directly prescribed by the pediatrician as too much zinc can be hazardous.

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