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Posted on 01-02-2018
Ear infection, also known as Otitis Media, is an infection of the middle ear and is one of the most common reasons for visits to a primary care provider for patients under the age of four. It does, however, affect both children and adults, but is more prevalent in infants and children due to the anatomically smaller and less mature Eustachian tube that is found within the inner ear. The Eustachian tube is what connects the middle ear with the throat, that allows for proper drainage of fluids to occur. When there is a bacterial or viral infection within the upper respiratory tract, swelling of the nasal passages, throat and especially the Eustachian tube can occur, which causes a blockage and buildup of fluid within the inner ear leading to Otitis Media.
Common symptoms of Otitis Media in older children and adults include fever, ear pain, especially with pressure from lying down, headache, loss of balance, and decreased hearing in the affected ear.
In infants and younger children, it is important to watch for the above stated symptoms in addition to increased irritability, crying, difficulty sleeping, decreased response to sounds and holding/tugging at the ear.
Typically, diagnosis of Otitis Media would be determined by examination of the affected ear using an otoscope, as well as the nose, throat and vitals. A general practitioner may distribute a prescription for a pain reliever and antibiotic (if bacterial infection is determined), and tubes if chronic ear infections occur. However, chronic use of antibiotics and pain relievers are associated with long-term, negative side effects and do not ultimately relieve the pressure build up within the inner ear. Tympanostomy tubes can relieve this pressure, but leave the inner ear exposed to the outer ear and any bacteria or viruses that may enter the canal, as well as eventual scarring of the eardrum due to perforation.
If antibiotics are not deemed necessary, there are natural ways to treat and prevent ear infection such as:
As always, there is a necessary time to visit a general practitioner and an alternative healthcare provider. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, alternative approaches should be the first line of defense in a non-emergency situation. Our society relies so heavily on antibiotics, pain relievers and surgery, without first allowing the body to heal itself using natural approaches and preventative measures as nature intended.
Yours in Health,
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