Holistic News & Events
September 6, 2011
Chronic Ear Infections: Uncommon Knowledge
“ We as parents and guardians must nurture our children... they depend on us.”
By Dr. Sal Masi
Many times I am surprised to read research articles that contradict common knowledge or current treatments that are used to combat illness.
A perfect example is chronic ear infections, or more appropriately described, chronic middle ear inflammation. Middle ear inflammation, also known as Otitis media, is one of the most common syndromes treated by pediatricians.
Otitis media is most prevalent in children between the ages of 0 to 5 years old. The number of cases of Otisis Media has steadily increased over the years to approximately 30 million visits per year, at a cost of over 4 billion dollars per year. Why are the number of cases increasing? This is not an easy question ot answer. Suffice it to say that genetics, anatomy, allergies, toxins, feeding position, viruses, bacteria and antibiotics have been implicated in Otitis Media. I would like to discuss the role of antibiotics.
Research has shown that when a child is treated with antibiotics for Otitis Media, the child's chance of a second ear infection increase by over 3 times. Using antibiotics increases you child's chance of a second, third, fourth and so on, case of Otitis Media. The purpose of antibiotics is to kill bacteria that can cause ear infections. Unfortunately only a small percentage of cases of Otitis Media are caused by bacteria. Depending on which research you read, it seems that most cases of Otitis Media are caused by allergens, perhaps up to 70% of all cases. If antibiotics cure Otitis Media why are the number of cases increasing? Another difficult question.
My intention is not to bash antibiotics. Antibiotics are life saving drugs. If your child has a bacterial infection, antibiotics are probably the best course of treatment. It is important to realize that there are other treatments and factors to consider when a child is suffering with chronic ear inflammation.
I would like all parents and guardians to be aware that the future course of events with regard to recurring ear infections is somewhat determined by the treatment decisions we make. The mose difficult symptoms for parents to deal with is the pain that our child experiences from otitis media; many times an intense, debilitating pain. Pain can be treated with pain medication, not necessarily with antibiotic.
Europeans utilize a protocol called "watchful waiting". In a nut shell they treat pain with a pain medication and watch the child's progress. Many times ear infections are self limiting, which means they heal on their own in a few days.
Be open minded, be aware, be informed. Make decisions that are sound, reasonable and in no way cause further complications for your child. We as parents and guardians must nurture our children... they depend on us.
When you are ready to begin I will be here for you.
Dr. Sal Masi