Ear problems can be extremely painful, especially in children. Millions of children visit doctors for ear infections (otitis media) each year. It accounts for more than 35 percent of all pediatric visits. Ear infections also happen to be the most common reason kids are prescribed antibiotics. Yet, new studies suggest these drugs do virtually nothing to help most kids recover faster.
Standard treatment for most cases of otitis media consists of antibiotics. According to many research studies, antibiotics are often not much more effective than the body’s own immune system. Frequent ear infections are also the second most common reason for surgery in children under age 2. Ear tubes are used when fluids from an ear infection haven’t cleared from the ear after several months to relieve pressure and fluid buildup.
Before turning to antibiotics or drastic surgery, more parents are considering chiropractic to help children with ear infections. When the spine is misaligned, it affects the normal draining of the Eustachian tubes. Stagnant fluid provides a breeding ground for bacterial growth. A gentle chiropractic adjustment releases the pressure on the tubes, allowing normal drainage to occur and reducing the incidence of ear infections. Chiropractic is safe and effective and something that parents should consider trying before inserting tubes in their children’s ears.
There are also natural options you can use at home. One of my favorites is garlic infused olive oil. It is a remedy that has been used for hundreds of years for ear infections. Garlic can work with the body to provide quick relief and long-lasting results. Garlic is naturally antimicrobial, antiviral and antibacterial, and olive oil soothes and contains potent polyphenols which reduce inflammation. To make your own, use two tablespoons of cold-pressed olive oil and mix in a minced clove of fresh garlic. Leave it to infuse for an hour and then strain through cheesecloth. Put a few drops of the oil into the ear every couple of hours, particularly before going to bed. Warm the oil up in a dish of warm water before use, and make a fresh batch daily. (Do not use this if the eardrum is ruptured.)
Another effective home treatment is acupressure. It encourages good circulation and facilitates normal drainage. Use pressure points behind the earlobe and in front of the ear canal. Massage in a downward direction behind the ear and down the neck to the clavicle. Adding therapeutic grade essential oils while doing acupressure and massage makes it even more potent. Oils recommended for this purpose are lavender, melaleuca, eucalyptus and chamomile. Dilute with coconut, almond or sesame oil as directed for children before using topically.
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