Chiropractic and Ear Infections
Ear infections… Sound familiar? Ear infections are very common, but unfortunately, so is antibiotic resistance. You might have experienced or heard of this scenario: “My baby got an ear infection, so the pediatrician gave us antibiotics. They didn’t work, so we got a different and stronger antibiotic. That worked for a few days but then the infection came back, so now we’re going and getting a super strong injectable antibiotic.”
Why does this happen?
When antibiotics are used too frequently, bacteria get smart and change their shape so the antibiotics no longer effectively kill bacteria. Additionally most ear infections are caused by both a virus AND bacteria. So even if the antibiotic were able to take care of the bacterial cause, the viral cause is still going strong unless the body’s immune system is supported in other ways.
What do I do?
Watch and wait: The American Academy of Pediatrics has re-written their guidelines to suggest that parents watch and wait for their child’s body to do what it does best- HEAL! Monitor your baby’s symptoms, and do all the typical “sick day” things like making sure they rest and stay hydrated.
But I feel useless…
As a mom, Dr. Anderson fully understands the need and desire to actually DO something productive when your kid is sick. That’s half of the attraction to medications like antibiotics. You feel like you’re actively doing something that will help your child get better faster. Like I mentioned before, jumping to antibiotics first only makes them less effective.
Below are some things you can do to boost your child’s immune system and help them naturally kick this ear infection faster!
How to Heal Ear Infections:
If you’re breastfeeding, nurse your child rather than giving previously pumped milk or formula. Boobs are amazing immune-boosting tools. A mother’s milk can change hour to hour by sensing which antibodies are needed through the child’s saliva contacting the nipple. Behold, the power of the mom-bod. Even if you’re not nursing, snuggle and kiss your child all. day. long. Close contact helps your child make antibodies and fight illness.
Eliminate dairy, sugar and orange juice from your child’s diet. These foods are known to create mucous and inflammation in the body. It’s best to take a break from them until your little one returns to tip-top shape.
Hydrolyzed silver is a safe anti-viral AND anti-bacterial substance. You can place 2-4 drops directly in your child’s ears every few hours. Do NOT do this if your child’s eardrum has burst, or if they have tubes in their ears, or had tubes that have fallen out and have not healed fully. In these cases, you can give the drops of silver orally to fight the infection.
Get your child adjusted 2x per week until symptoms improve. The Eustachian tube inside the ear is controlled by a nerve that comes from your child’s cervical spine. If their spine is out of alignment, the tube might not be getting the correct “open up and drain” signal. Getting your child adjusted frequently for a short time will help his or her body’s nervous and immune system operate without any interference. We can also do an otoscopic (ear) exam at every visit to see if the ear is improving.
Resist giving Tylenol for a fever less than 104 F. The body kills bacteria and viruses between the temperatures of 101 and 104 F. A reasonable fever is helping your child, not hurting them. I suggest not giving your child Tylenol unless the fever is interfering with his or her ability to sleep or drink liquids.
Trust Your Instincts
If you’re doing all of these things and your gut feeling is that your kid needs more, then seek medical care. You know your child better than any physician so you know if they need more or less intervention.
It’s simple, but applying a warm compress or washcloth over the ear can provide relief for aching ears.
These can be mixed into food or drink, or placed on the mother’s nipple before nursing.
Probiotics- Belly Boost powder is kid-friendly and allergen-free
0-12 mos- ¼ scoop per day- can divide dose throughout the day if needed
12-18 mos- ½ scoop per day; 19 mos- +1 scoop per day
Vitamin D– 400-800 IU (half-whole dropperful) per day unless otherwise specified (alternately, nursing moms can take 10,000 IU per day of Vitamin D to get baby to 400 IU)
Note: antibiotics do have a time and place; it’s just not every time and every place. So if your child does not improve (or seems to be getting worse) with the previous suggestions (give it some time, about 48-72 hours), it may be time for a trip to the pediatrician.