Childhood Ear Infections
By Dr. Alicia Thomas, ND
Watching your kid develop an ear infection is not enjoyable.
I know, I’ve been there. Of course NO illness is enjoyable, especially when it comes to our children. And especially when they don’t have the communication skills to tell you what is going on yet! Did you know that ear infections are second in frequency of ailments in children (after the common cold)? Here are the signs you can look for in your little ones to determine if what they are experiencing might be an ear infection.
When you and your doctor together have determined that your child is indeed experiencing an ear infection, there are a definitely a lot of options for treatment. Typically, he or she will recommend botanicals or nutrients to: 1) increase your child’s immune system and 2) fight the virus or bacteria that caused the ear infection. The type of substances and nutrients will vary on an individual basis.
In addition to immune boosting and antimicrobials, it is important to do what we can to prevent an ear infection, either in the first place, or a recurrence of future infections. This is done in many ways, but mainly I like to focus on food, lifestyle, and (more) immune boosting techniques.
Food: Avoiding food intolerances, and foods that commonly cause mucus: dairy, added sugars, gluten, eggs, peanuts, and soy.
Lifestyle: Breastfeeding exclusively for the first 4-6 months of a baby’s life. Avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke. Avoiding the overuse of pacifiers and bottles in older babies and children.
Immunity: Keeping the immune system in tip top shape through the “cold” season can help prevent ear infections. What are the best ways to do that, you ask? Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day, keep sugar content to a minimum, use hydrotherapy, and get your vitamin D every day from healthy outdoor sun exposure.
Remember: If your child has an ear infection and you notice pus or discharge coming out of their ear, there is a possibility the eardrum is ruptured. Never put anything in to your child’s ear until your doctor has ruled that out.