New Guidelines for Ear Infections/ Attack on Dairy

The Untied States is finally (!) getting on track with the rest of the civilized world when it comes to the treatment of childhood ear infections.  New guidelines released by a joint council that included the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) outlines a plan that is much more consistent with not only what the rest of the world is doing, but with what research tells us we should do as well.

According to worldwide research, 80% of children with ear infections improve ON THEIR OWN within a few days and most (over 60%) experience pain relief within about 24 hours.  This is vastly different from the mind-set that we have in this country where we think that if you don’t get that kid on antibiotics, something dreadful will happen.  There have been many studies which have pointed out that antibiotics actually DO NOT shorten the amount of time before ear infections get better.  All they do is help to create antibiotic-resistant species of bacteria, which just might cause something dreadful to happen.

With all of this in mind, the new guidelines suggest that ibuprofen or acetaminophen be used for pain relief for about 24 hours.  It was also found that antibiotics do not help with pain relief in the first 24 hours.  After about 24 hours, most kids will start to improve on their own.  If the child is under 6 months, or has severe symptoms, then a trip to the doctor is probably warranted. 

In my own practice, I use time-tested remedies to deal with childhood ear infections.  “Ear exercises” can do a lot in terms of pain relief and speeding healing.  These are a set of movements where you push and pull the ear in different directions in order to promote drainage and open the tubes leading to the ear.  Along those lines, alternative hot and cold compresses can really make the area feel better and speed healing.  A potato poultice behind the ear is a tried and true remedy.  Certain drops, either homeopathic or containing mullein and garlic, can be very helpful for healing an ear.  However, do not use drops unless you know for sure that the eardrum is not perforated.  Larix and goldenseal are herbs which are good at boosting the pediatric immune system. 

However, when we are talking about chronic childhood ear infections, there is really only one solution (usually).  Get the kid off dairy.  In mine and my colleague’s findings, well over 90% of chronic ear infections is due to nothing else other than a simple dairy intolerance.  I have seen it over, and over, and over again.  I pains me to no end to see the amount of antibiotics that many kids go through, and then the ear tubes, and then they develop asthma, or eczema, and they’re constipated, and they have sinus issues all the time, etc, etc.  All of this can be avoided if dairy products were simply removed form the diet. 

Then, I get the argument that the child will develop osteoporosis at age 10 and wither and die because he or she did not get the “suggested” 2 cups of milk per day.  Let me tell you something.  The countries around the world that have the highest rates of dairy consumption ALSO have the highest rates of osteoporosis.  Yes, it’s true.  The calcium found in milk is very, very difficult to absorb.  The calcium found in green, leafy vegetables, however, is just waiting to find its way into your little bones.  Anyway, don’t get me started on dairy.  Maybe I’ll write more on it in the future (and its ties to childhood onset diabetes – yes, its true).  For now, if your child is chronically ill, snotty, scratchy, itchy, stopped up, or bloated – please do them a favor and get them off dairy.  There is nothing that will more positively impact their long-term health.  Testing for dairy intolerance is available. 

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