Is your child complaining of ear pain? It could be an ear infection, which is common among small children. In fact, it's estimated that more than 75% of children will have an ear infection.
The common treatment for ear infections has been antibiotics, but recent guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that parents avoid immediately resorting to antibiotics. Why? Antibiotics may not be able to help an infection that's caused by a virus and may even lead to increased recurrence of the infection. Since many ear infections clear up on their own, doctors are increasingly likely to wait in order to avoid over-prescribing antibiotics.
As a parent, you may be asking what alternatives there are. Here are 5 treatments to try.
- Probiotics. Probiotics work by replenishing and supporting the good bacteria in your body. Some strains of "good" bacteria may help fight against ear infections. In addition to ingesting probiotics orally, try placing some probiotic powder on your tongue just before going to bed – allowing the good bacteria to work its way directly into the membranes around the mouth and ears.
- Garlic. Garlic has antibiotic properties as well as antimicrobial aspects. To use whole garlic against ear infections, boil a clove in water until it's soft but not mushy, then place it on the ear secured with first aid tape. Change daily.
- Mullein. Alternatively, mix a few drops of garlic oil with mullein oil and place a little of the mixture in the ear using a dropper. Repeat several times per day.
- Chiropractic. Children's ears are shaped slightly differently than adults', which may cause fluid to pool in the ear and fail to drain properly. Chiropractic adjustment can help adjust the bones of the head and neck to facilitate this drainage and minimize build-up of fluid.
- Warm Compresses. Place a warm washcloth or sock filled with warmed (microwaved) rice on the ear to help soothe and relieve pain.
Some ear infections are more serious than others. If your child has a visibly bulging tympanic membrane or a fever of more than 102 degrees, it's a clear indication of an ear infection and you should follow your doctor's instructions. Repeated ear infections can cause damage to the eardrum or trouble hearing later in life.
For less severe cases where waiting is an option, some of these natural remedies may be equally or even more beneficial than a doctor's prescription. For more information about chiropractic treatment, visit North Star Chiropractic Center.