Most parents have seen it with their children. A fussy child, pulling at their ears, runny nose, lack of appetite, feverish, crying. These are the symptoms of an ear infection. The leading reason, by far, for children to visit the pediatrician's office is due to the symptoms caused by ear infections. Ear infections, or otitis media, is a generic name for several conditions that can affect the middle ear, including inflammation of the middle ear, ranging from acute to chronic and with or without symptoms. The leading age group for OM is children under the age of two.

    From 1975 to 1990, office visits for otitis media increased by 150 percent to 24.5 million visits, or 81 percent of the pediatric profile for children under the age of 15. Although the total number of office visits for otitis media decreased to 16 million in 2000, the rate of antibacterial prescribing was approximately the same (802 antibacterial prescriptions per 1000 visits fora total of more than 13 million prescriptions). An individual course of antibacterial therapy can range in cost from $10 to more than $100.

Are antibiotics the answer?
Is an ear infection really the lack of antibiotics?
How effective and safe are the drugs that millions are giving their children?
What other methods should be considered when the symptoms start to present?

    In 1994, George Washington University and the University of Minnesota reviewed 33 studies evaluating the efficacy of various antibiotics for the treatment of otitis media. Using the statistical technique of meta-analysis, they discovered that drugs have only about a 14 percent advantage over the body's own immune system.The New England Journal of Medicine published a study regarding the use of antibiotics versus the use of a placebo. It revealed that during a one-week period, 94 percent of the recipients using antibiotics for ear infections resolved, while 84 percent of the placebo-controlled recipients resolved during the same time period. Dr. J. Owen Hendley, from the University of Virginia, reviewed 100 studies and discovered that antibiotics help only one out of eight children with ear infections.

    In a recent study the authors presented the downside of the use of antibiotics by stating: "The bacteria, which cause ear infections, learn quickly to be resistant to antibiotics. At some point we're going to run out of drugs to treat the problem. Antibiotics resistance is a huge problem in this country. The practice of treating eight children to help one who needs antibiotics just makes it worse." Parents, beware of the side-effects and contraindications to the usage of antibiotics! Side-effects to drugs such as amoxicillin, Augmentin or ampicillin include diarrhea, hives and yeast infections. Children with a previous allergy to these drugs should not take them. Also, the cephalosporin antibiotics cefadroxil and cephalexin may present numerous side-effects, such as upset stomach; nausea; vomiting; depressed white blood cell (WBC) counts; anemia; rashes; and inhibited blood clotting. Ciprofloxacin side-effects are upset stomach; nausea; vomiting; loss of appetite; diarrhea; headache; sleep disturbance; increased risk of tendonitis; dizziness; mood changes; a depressed WBC count; anemia; rashes; and sun sensitivity. Its contraindications include children susceptible to seizures or with central nervous system disorders. Erythromycin side-effects are upset stomach and rash, and it is contraindicated if the child is vomiting or has nausea.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a wait and watch period of 48-72 hours. It is not until after that time, if the child still has a fever over 102 degrees that a course of antibiotics is recommended. They have set these guidelines for the very reason that there is an increasing and alarming rate of antibiotic use in children and the so called "super infections" are gaining ground on society, especially in children. It is not uncommon for a child to develop symptoms of an ear infection, and within 24 hours has been to the pediatrician and started a course of antibiotics. The chances of repeated antibiotic use in that child increases every time they take them. And the strength of the infections builds as well. When you take an antibiotic, it depletes all of the good and all of the bad bacteria in the body. The immune system is now compromised, making it easier for another infection to present or even the same one, had it not been properly diagnosed and treated initially.

    Parents should be aware that a big part of the reason why children get ear infections is diet. There are a number of kids that are on the white diet. Their diet is primarily composed of inflammatory foods. These foods are white flour foods, dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. White sugary foods and sweets. Anything processed that comes out of a box, juices and pastas. Fried foods, french fries, chicken nuggets (even if you bake them at home, they were once fried).

    Chiropractic has been shown to relieve the symptoms of ear infections in children. Why would a chiropractic examination and adjustment of the child's neck help? The cervical plexus receives motor fibers that can be traced from the eustachian tubes (tensa veli palatine) to the superior cervical sympathetic ganglion. The chiropractic evaluation must include a thorough evaluation of the entire cervical spine for vertebral subluxation. A close examination of the C1-C4 region should be undertaken.

    There is a lot of research correlating a decrease in ear infections and symptoms with chiropractic. A pilot study included 332 children from 27 days old to five-years-old, what were the effects of chiropractic adjustments on children with otitis media? The average number of adjustments administered by types of otitis media were as follows: acute otitis media (127 children) 4 adjustments; chronic/serous otitis media (104 children) 5 adjustments; for mixed type of bilateral otitis media (10 children) 5.3 adjustments; where no otitis was initially detected (74 children) 5.88 adjustments. The number of days it took to normalize the otoscopic examination was for acute 6.67, chronic/serous 8.57 and mixed 8.3. the number of days it took to normalize the tympanographic examination was acute: 8.35, chronic/serous 10.18 and mixed 10.9 days. The overall recurrence rate over a six month period from initial presentation in the office was for acute 11.02%, chronic/serous 16.34%, for mixed 30% and for none present 17.56%.The results indicate that there is a strong correlation between the chiropractic adjustment and the resolution of otitis media for the children in this study. Note: 311 of the 332 had a history of prior antibiotic use. 53.7% of the children had their first bout of otitis media between the ages of 6 months and 1 year and a total of 69.9% of the subjects in the study had their first bout of OM under a year of age. This is consistent with the findings of others. Fallon, JM. Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics Vol 2, No. 2 1997 p.167-183.

    Although otitis media is very common in young children, there are ways to prevent it and treat it naturally. It really boils down to two different ways of treating it. There is the traditional way. Treating it with antibiotics, which carries with it a repeated use of the drugs as well as side effects and long term recurrence leading to surgery, placing tubes to help aid the draining of the fluid. The other way would be a more natural way by making certain dietary changes, and seeking out a chiropractic evaluation and/or adjustments.

DR. RUTTER



 


Comments

07/01/2014 23:24

Just reading up on some of this lately, was interesting.

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