Treating Middle Ear Infections with Modern Science and Old World Wisdom

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One of the main causes of otitis media or ear infections is a malfunctioning of the Eustachian tube.

 

According to Kidshealth.org, the eustachian tube contributes to ear infections because it functions as a passageway for allowing mucus to drain from the middle ear to the throat. When this function does not happen, the Eustachian tube can become blocked by mucous (from allergies or the common cold) in its lining . When the fluid builds up (instead of air) within the middle ear , viruses and bacteria can get trapped inside. Once trapped, they begin to multiply, which results in an ear infection.

 

Symptoms

Symptoms of a middle ear infection can include loss of hearing, fever, vomiting, dizziness, ear pain, and loss of appetite to name a few.

 

Conventional treatment

Generally, conservative doctors like Dr. Randy Naidoo, an integrative medical doctor located in Garland, Texas, might suggest that parents “wait and see” as a precautionary method to prevent over prescribing antibiotics.  An overuse of antibiotics will disrupt the healthy gut flora and can ultimately, lead to the over growth of antibiotic resistance bacteria.  In 4 out of 5 children, the middle ear infection will clear on its own and in 1 out of 5 children, treatment will be needed to clear the infection.

 

If the infection clears up on its own, you’re good to go and will not need further treatment; however, if it doesn’t clear up, you have the following two options for treatment:  The Western Medicine Method-Antibiotics and/or the  Ayurvedic Method-Garlic Ear Drops.

 

Antibiotics

After a confirmed diagnosis by your child’s pediatrician, you will more than likely leave with a prescription for amoxicillin, which is very effective at treating bacterial based ear infections.  Note, antibiotics will NOT clear up an ear infection caused by a virus.  The treatment usually lasts for a duration of 7 to 10 days; however,  the symptoms will disappear in  about 48 hours according to Webmd.com.   The side effects are minimal and could include diarreah.  After your child has completed the course, I strongly recommend a good probiotic, such as Jarrows, to replace the good bacteria in the gut, which was destroyed with the antibiotics treatment.

 

Ayurvedic Treatment

However, if you are feeling more adventurous and open to more natural treatments, I highly encourage you to try garlic ear drops, which is an Ayurvedic treatment that has been used for generations in India.

 

Lubricating the Eustachian tubes will do both, prevent and clear up a middle ear infection. According to John Douillard, an Ayurvedic doctor who wrote the book, “Perfect Health for Kids,” lubricating the Eustachian tubes is one of the best remedies for dry sinuses and dry or congested cervical lymphatic drainage. Dr. Douillard goes on to say that if the cervical lymphatic system dries out, the ears will lose their ability to drain properly, which leads to a sore throat, irritated mucous membranes, excess mucus and ultimately, an ear infection. Dr. Douillard suggests a few drops of garlic oil in each ear a few times a week during flu/cold season to prevent an infection. This treatment also prevents your child from getting the common cold or flu and if they do get it, it us usually very mild. You can find garlic ear drops at your local health food store or at an online store.  There are no side effects to using this treatment.  I have been successfully using garlic ear drops for the last four years-which you can read more about here.

 

References:

(n.d.). Middle Ear Infections. Kidshealth.org. Retrieved on January 21, 2013 from http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/ear/otitis_media.html#

 

Douillard, Dr. John. (2004). Perfect Health for Kids: 10 Ayurvedic Health Secrets Every Parent Must Know. Ear Oil (pp. 242-244). Berkley, California. North Atlantic Books.

 

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