Ear infections account for over 25 million visits to the doctor in a year. They are very common but can cause untold pain and suffering in the child and the parents.
One of the ways to curtail the amount of ear infections begins before the baby is born. Do not smoke or be around cigarette smoke when you are pregnant. Studies are showing that smoking may interfere with the fetus' immune system development, making the child prone to ear infections. Furthermore ..to expose an infant , toddler to cigarette smoke is an ear infection waiting to happen. There is now enough evidence to say that cigarette smoke does cause ear and sinus infection in children and prevents the complete healing of these troubles.
(I can say as an experienced office nurse that an infant that smells like a ash tray is more common than you think. I could handle the messy diapers but a smokey smell is a crying shame!)
There are different types of ear infections, listed are the main two.
External otitis, or the outer ear infection: This is usually preceded by allergies or upper respiratory infections. The outer ear and ear canal are infected up to the ear drum with symptoms of slight fever, pain, throbbing which hurts worse to touch it.
Otitis media or middle ear infections...the area behind the eardrum is infected with symptoms of high fever, sharp pain and throbbing..you will see the child pull or tug at their ears with crying. Pressure builds behind the eardrum , a rip or perforation results in the eardrum and the pain is reduced quickly. Fluid draining from the ear is a clue the eardrum has ruptured.
Doctors are becoming more reluctant to treat ear infection with antibiotics due to the new strains of ear infections created by overuse of antibiotics.
There are some other alternatives that can be used which are safe.
A few drops of warm garlic oil dropped into the ear canal will help to stop the pain and will kill the bacteria, germs, fungus in the ear.
Giving the child echinacea extract will boost the immune system to fight off the infection. You can also use Goldenseal extract in child's drink but remember this is not an herb to take routinely.
After a round of Goldenseal be sure to supplement the diet with acidophilus. If you are going to smoke around the child then keep these herbs handy.
Try to reduce allergy causing foods from the diet like dairy products, wheat, corn, oranges, peanut butter, and sugars.
Worth a mention here ..breast fed babies have less sinus and ear infections than bottle fed babies. And one more note..by the time my daughter was 17 year she had antibiotics just once in her life,,she has taken the echinacea and goldenseal all her life (when needed)....just thought I would mention that also!! (she was breast fed too!)
Here is one more important point, Don't smoke around babies!