Sunday, January 08, 2006

“Are You Making These Common Mistakes Concerning Your Children’s Ear Infections?”

I have been caring for children in my practice since 1990. Over the years, children’s health information has changed rapidly. One day the experts are saying a certain drug or treatment is safe, the next day they are saying it is dangerous and should be avoided. The saddest thing I have learned is that most doctors do not have the time or maybe even the interest to read the latest research on drugs and treatments for even the most basic of conditions. Take ear infections for example, most leading pediatricians and researchers, like Lawrence Palvesky, MD., from the Beth Israel Medical Center’s, Health & Healing Center in New York and Charles Shubin, MD., director of pediatrics at Mercy Family Care in Baltimore do not recommend the use of antibiotics. According to the doctors, most ear infections aren’t really infections, but are actually inflammations. The earaches that are infections, most of the time are viral in nature. Antibiotics do not treat inflammation or viruses! Even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta Georgia, says that 90% of upper respiratory infections, including children’s ear infections, are viruses and antibiotics do not treat viruses.

A recent paper in the medical journal Pediatrics (McCormick 2005) reported that antibiotics for non-severe ear infections have no benefit and are as effective as doing nothing. Progressive pediatricians are holding off on antibiotic treatment and allowing the body to heal itself naturally or with the help of natural care.

What about the worry of a ruptured ear drum? In the old days, the fear of an untreated ear infection was that a child could lose their hearing due to an eardrum rupture. According to Richard Rosenfield, MD., director of otolaryngology at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn New York, a ruptured ear drum from an ear infection is not a big deal. He says, while it may be unpleasant (it only occurs in 5-10% of ear infections), Dr. Rosenfield compares it to a pimple popping. “The pus comes out and the child usually feels much better. Unless it happens often, it has no effect on hearing.”

The number one mistake that most parents make concerning ear infections is that they ask the doctor for an antibiotic or they take an antibiotic prescription without questioning the doctor as to what type of care would be best for the child or if the doctor feels the child can get better without one.

The number two mistake is that many parents do not know about natural remedies to ease a child’s earache while the body takes the time to heal itself. The proper use of olive oil and mullein oil can ease most ear discomfort, while herbs like children’s Echinacea and vitamin C can help give a boost to your child’s immune system. Most importantly, gentle non-force, light touch chiropractic care, has been shown to loosen stiff neck muscles. Neck muscle tension tugs on the tubes in the ears, preventing the fluid from draining properly. Improper fluid drainage is a common cause of reoccurring ear infections. Chiropractic care also improves nerve flow to the ears, helping to stimulate healing. Cranial-Sacral Therapy, a technique developed by osteopaths and utilized by most chiropractors is another gentle way of helping the body rid itself of many child-hood aliments including ear infections.

The number three mistake is that most parents do not have this information to talk to their doctors about. The sad thing is that unnecessary antibiotics given to a child today can break down the healthy bacteria in other areas of the body, leading to different illnesses. It is not uncommon for a child who has repeat ear infections and repeat antibiotic therapy to develop a lower respiratory infection and then be diagnosed as having asthma, followed by a whole new set of drugs and treatments. A merry-go-round of trips to the doctor, more medications and new illnesses can lead to a life time of chronic ill health.

The number four mistake is that preventative health and wellness care are often ignored until there is a symptom or illness. Proper nutrition, adequate rest and exercise, along with regular chiropractic care can keep your child healthier to begin with and less susceptible to illness.


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At 10:03 PM, Blogger Belinda Gwen said...

Dr. J. Zimmerman, I think you're really an expert when it comes to long term health insurance! May you prosper Dr. J. Zimmerman!

At 10:59 PM, Blogger KrishaLiva said...

It is one of the growing concerns for many parents. Your post would really help them know their mistakes. You really gave valuable information here.
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