Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Natural Relief for Ear Infections
I experienced the very first ear infection in our family a few months back. When you realize that I have 3 kids ages 4, 3, and 1, this seems like a miracle. This proves to me that breast feeding, chiropractic care, limited sugar and pasteurized dairy, and vitamins and supplements really do work for kids. I had chronic ear infections as a kid, so it's obviously not genetics. My daughters ear infection showed me what can really work, and work well. I'll talk more about her story in a bit.
So many times we confuse earaches with ear infections. Earaches can be caused by teething or even a cold virus that is increasing pressure on the ear. It's very important to distinguish between the two and to let your pediatrician know that you want antibiotics only as a last resort. One pediatrician even told me she has to read the mom to see if the mom is expecting a prescription. She said even if the child may not necessarily need antibiotics, she will write the script for the mom's peace of mind. So, be sure and let your Doctor know what you expect. Many times I went in for a diagnoses and did my own treatment as I'm not a fan of antibiotics, steriods, and the many other common presriptions they use for children's issues.
There are 2 different kinds of actual ear infections. One being as Dr. Green calls it the "vanilla" infection or OME (otis media effusion) Germ filled fluid is present, but antibiotics aren't needed. A "red" or AOM (acute otis media) infection on the other hand is insanely painful and inflammed. So be sure and ask the Dr. if it's an OME or AOM infection. He'll be impressed you studied up. These "red" kinds of infections need pain relief which I'll get to later. The revolutionary 2004 AAP/AAFP ear infection guidelines teach us that even these "red" infections are often better treated without antibiotics! The body is usually able to kill and drain the infection on its own. Antibiotics work for a select group of children, but it can actually do a lot of detriment to the rest. Overuse can create a breeding ground for resistant bacteria. It's also killing so much of the beneficial bacteria in the body that are important for the gut and sinuses. So the cycle can continue again and again. Antibiotics don't build your immune system, but can do quite the opposite. Health begins in the gut..but that's another blog post for another day.
Ultimately, the decision whether to use antibiotics will still be presented to you by your doctor. You have the option to "wait and see". This means you have the Doctor write the script and then after a 48-72 hour period, if their is no improvement or it has worsened, you can go fill that script. Be sure and talk through all this with your Doctor. Most are comfortable with the wait and see approach.
So if you decide to forgo antibiotics, what are some natural alternatives? First and foremost, I agree with Dr. Green (one of my favorite pediatricians) when he says pain relief is more important that antibiotics. I'd much rather give my child a few doses of ibuprophen than give them a bunch of antibiotics. If you can relieve the pain, like I said, most ear infections will clear up on their own.
Another great option is Chiropractic Care. An adjustment can help the fluid drain helping with relief of pain and faster healing. Make sure the chiropractor specializes in children. Some have limited experience or education in adjusting kids and babies.
Drops are great for pain relief. There are homeopathic eardrops now sold everywhere from big box stores to your local health food store. Herbs for Kids makes White Willow and Garlic oil drops. I've had friends have great results with those. White Willow is what they make aspirin out of, so it helps numb and the garlic helps kill bacteria. These drops are supposed to be warmed, and the heat helps with pain as well. Xylitol is something that is supposed to be great for prevention of ear infections. It works by inhibiting the bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae, which is one of the major causes of ear infections. Nature's Plus Inner Ear Support and Kal Ear-a-sarus are great. You can also let your kids chew xylitol gum or suck on the mints. For little ones, you can buy it in the sweetener isle of your local store and put a 1/2 tsp in their food or drink. Spry is a great brand of Xylitol gum and mints. I use their toothpaste as well.
What was my daughters miracle cure? Well, I did have her adjusted and I used garlic oil drops, but she still could not sleep without ibuprophen because of the pain. When it got to 72 hours from when she first started complaining, I started to wonder if she was that select few and might really need antibiotics. Then I remembered I had a little bit of Purest Colloids Mesosilver left. I couldn't believe I had forgotten about it. It had been packed away from when we moved. I got it out and put a couple drops in her ear and had her lay there for 10 minutes. I then gave her a tsp to swallow. I did this 2 more times that day. She slept through the night and didn't complain again! Mesosilver is seriously amazing. I'm going to write an entire post on it as I've seen it do incredible things in my family. And it's non toxic, safe for kids, and has an infinite shelf life. I've put it in my eye for an eye irritation, nasal washed with it for sinus infection and allergy relief, and used it in my daughters ear. Each time it yielded fantastic results. I have more stories of what it has done that I'll include in my post on Mesosilver. There is truly nothing like it on the market. I'm currently getting the local health food store here in Sioux Falls where I'm now practicing (Wayne and Marys) to carry it. If you're not local you can order it on the website www.purestcolloids.com