I am willing to bet that after you discover your child’s ear infection your first thought is not about your chiropractic physician. In the following I hope to change your thought process about how to handle these infections the next time they occur. Ear infections are one of the most common and most painful childhood illnesses. It is estimated that in their first year half of all children will have had an ear infection, and by two years of age, two-thirds of all children will have had at least one ear infection. Middle ear infections are one of the leading reasons children visit their pediatrician, and they are the number one reason children visit a chiropractor.
Ear Infections in Infants and Toddlers
Whatcauses infants and toddlers to have ear infections more often than any other age group? The Eustachian tube, this is the tube that allows the middle ear to drain and it is horizontal in small children. Because the tube is horizontal, instead of being angled downward like in older children and adults, is does not drain as easily. If the end of the tube becomes blocked due to swelling the oxygen inside the tube is reabsorbed by the tissue and the anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that thrive in an oxygen free environment) begin to multiply. This makes a backup of fluid into the middle ear much more common in infants and toddlers than older children.
There are also other factors which contribute to the development of ear infections. Allergies to certain foods are one of the leading contributors to childhood ear infections. Allergies to milk, wheat, eggs, citrus, or peanuts are the most common culprits. Ear infections can also be caused by a viral infection. Generally, these ear infections are preceded by an upper respiratory infection like a cold or a cough. Also, children are more likely to have an ear infection if they live in a home with a smoker or if they attend day care and are exposed to many other children.
How will you know if your child is having an ear infection? Since most children are likely to have their first middle ear infection before they can speak, parents must learn to watch for signs and symptoms that suggest an ear infection is present. Most commonly a child will have a fever, will be fussy or irritable, and will have ear pain. Younger children will indicate the ear pain by pulling on the ear or rubbing the ear, while older children will complain of pain or even hearing loss.
Chiropractic Treatment for Ear Infection
As mentioned before, ear infections are the number one reason for children to visit a chiropractor. The adjustment performed on a child is scaled back to conform to the size of the child. Opening up the end of the Eustachian tube and allowing oxygen to enter is the number one goal of the adjustment. Equalization of the pressure of the inner ear will help reduce discomfort in your child helping them sleep better and reducing pain. If you are considering ear tubes or are tired of giving your child antibiotics, consider chiropractic care as a conservative approach to chronic ear infections. Chiropractic care is safe for children, all adjustments are extremely gentle, and the adjustments are modified for the child's size.
If you would like more information about ear infections and how Chiropractic Care might help your family contact Dr. Foley at 815-717-8646 to schedule an appointment