Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ear Infections and Children

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians have recommended since 2004 that doctors hold off on prescribing antibiotics for ear infections, at least initially.
But even as the number of certain types of ear infection cases have decreased in recent years, the number of antibiotics prescribed have held constant. AAP recommends that doctors give parents the option of letting their children fight the infection on their own for 48-72 hours, only starting antibiotics if the symptoms do not improve.
This is because many ear infections are caused by viruses, which antibiotics are useless against. And even the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that:3
“Ear infections will often get better on their own without antibiotic treatment… Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can be harmful, and may lead to unwanted side effects like diarrhea, rashes, nausea, and stomach pain. More severe side effects may rarely occur; these include life-threatening allergic reactions, kidney toxicity, and severe skin reactions.
Each time you or your child takes an antibiotic, the bacteria that normally live in your body (on the skin, in the intestine, in the mouth and nose, etc.) are more likely to become resistant to antibiotics.”
Research conducted nearly 20 years ago showed that the routine use of antibiotics for ear infections not only produces little benefit but also contributes to the spread of drug-resistant bacteria.4 So if your child has an ear infection, watchful waiting is a solid strategy to try before asking your doctor for a prescription. The majority of kids will get better in 48-72 hours with no antibiotics necessary. If your child is not improving or is getting worse after 72 hours, then antibiotics may be required in some severe cases.

How Chiropractic can help with Ear Infections
Ear pain is the number one reason for child visits to chiropractors. Many chiropractors believe that there is a strong link between the birthing process and recurrent ear infection, also known as otitis media. During the birthing process, cervical (neck) vertebrae can become misaligned, disrupting nerve function, which can affect the eustachian tube. This may lead to fluid buildup in the middle ear and cause otitis media.
Ear infection or otitis media accounts for over 35% of all pediatrician visits in the United States. Antibiotics, the usual treatment, are not always effective and may even lead to a recurrence of ear infections. Many children are dealing with a continuing cycle of repeat ear infections, which lands them back at the pediatrician for more antibiotics. For nearly 100 years, the chiropractic profession has claimed that ear and other upper respiratory infections respond favorably to chiropractic adjustments.
A promising study published in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics indicates that there is a strong correlation between chiropractic adjustments and the resolution of ear infections. 332 children with chronic ear infections participated in the study. Each child, ranging in age from 27 days to 5 years, was given a series of chiropractic adjustments. The results show that close to 80% of the children did not experience another ear infection within the six-month period following their initial visits. 

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