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Steps to Preventing Childhood Ear Infections

Posted Aug 23 2008 3:17pm 1 Comment

Do you know of any child that has suffered an ear infection? By the age of two, 66% of children will have had a bout with ear infections, more specifically middle ear infections known as acute otitis media.

Acute otitis media (AOM) is usually a complication of an upper respiratory infection. During a cold or flu, bacteria may infiltrate the ear and cause swelling. The swelling will then block the openings of the ear and inhibit drainage. As a result, painful inflammation sets in. The lack of drainage is intensified by the horizontal orientation of the infants’ ear canal. The ear can will gradually assume the 45 degree angle as children mature.

Below are some steps to preventing childhood ear infections.

  • Consider Chiropractic Care - cutting edge research has revealed that Chiropractic care may promote ear health. A study with 46 children under the age of five with ear infections was conducted. An amazing 93% of the patients recovered withing 10 days of receiving Chiropractic care. Another 43% showed improvement with one one to two treatments. ( Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1996 ) How can Chiropractic care help reduce the risk of AOM? Chiropractors are experts at detecting and correcting dysfunctional areas in the spine. The areas of dysfunction prevent the spine from movement or restrict the movement of the vertebrae because the bones (vertebrae) are out of alignment. This is called a subluxation, and it is what Chiropractors detect and correct. In young patients, Chiropractors use specialized techniques to adjust the spine and the maneuvers are modified for growing spines and are extremely gentle and safe. Further studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments may boost the immune system, in turn warding off ailments such as AOM.
  • Breast-Feed Your Infants - many studies have shown that breastfeeding boosts the immune system, in turn preventing ear infections. One study followed over 300 babies. It showed that 6 month old babies who were fed exclusively by breastfeeding were half as likely to experience an episode of ear infections when compared to a formula-fed baby.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Antibiotics - although some serious cases of AOM may require antibiotics, the misuse of these drugs is generating serious health problems in children worldwide. Most childhood ear infections are caused by bacteria called pneumococcus or haemophilus. Studies have shown that the excessive use of antibiotics has led to strains of these bacteria that are resistant to even the most aggressive drugs. Scientists have also revealed that antibiotics are usually not necessary in cases of ear infections.
  • Limit Dairy Intake - studies have shown that diets rich in dairy products, such as, cow’s milk, cheese and ice cream will boosts the child’s odd of ear infection. It is suggested to substitute dairy products with calcium-fortified soy products such as soy milk, tofu and tempeh.
  • Increase Antioxidant Intake - fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants which are disease fighting chemicals. These chemicals have proven to boost the immune system by destroying molecules called free radicals, which prompt disease. Free radicals are what need to be destroyed so it is important to have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, unlike fried foods and sugar-laden snacks that promote free radical production.
  • Stay Smoke-Free - Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke develop more ear infections than those who grow up in smoke-free environments. ( Pediatric Dentistry, 1998 ) So if you smoke, it is important to smoke outside or away from your child to prevent the onset of ear infections.
  • Restrict the Use of a Pacifier - although the use of a pacifier comes in handy to subdue a crying or irritable child, it may also increase the likelihood of developing AOM, according to a recent article in the Journal of Pediatrics . It is also suggested to restrict the use of a pacifier and use when the infant is falling asleep and it will reduce the occurrence of AOM. Ear infections are such a common childhood disease that even small changes in children’s everyday habits may have major effects on its occurrence.

I hope that these pointers will prevent your little one from getting an ear infection this season.

Until next time,

Dr. Daisy

Comments (1)
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my child aged 9 months has had ear problems for nearly 3 months. the doctors said it was a case of alergy and prescribed some oral drops for both ear and mouth. 2 months later, the child can not have a quiet sleep and keeps shaking her head and shifting positions for the the better part of the night. she also hits her head and pulls her hair like its irritatting her. what could be the problem?
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