Young children often have tubes put in their ears because they have experienced reoccurring middle ear infections. These ear tubes are tiny cylinders placed through the eardrum to allow for the drainage of fluid. This type of surgery is reportedly the most common childhood surgery performed with anesthesia. Complications may include: 1) a perforated ear drum, requiring additional surgery; 2) scarring, possibly resulting in the loss of hearing; 3) ear infections may still occur, and 4) ear tubes fall out too early, requiring additional surgery, or stay in too long, possibly causing a perforated eardrum.

There are alternative protocols for treating reoccurring ear infections. A few drops of warm garlic oil or olive oil in the ear helps to alleviate pain. Also, a cotton ball soaked in a mixture of warm vegetable glycerin and witch hazel and inserted into the ear can draw out the infection. In addition, Echinacea drops taken orally can halt an ear infection if caught in the early stages.

Some nutritional protocols I would recommend to help keep a child healthy and resistant to ear infections include:

  • Breastfeeding!
  • Do not give the child dairy products (if ear infections still occur after 30 days without dairy, have the child tested for other food allergies)
  • Do not give the child MSG or other food additives or preservatives
  • Do not give the child packaged refined foods, fried foods, or sugary foods
  • Limit “natural” sugar (2-3 servings of fruit per day)
  • Avoid fruit juice – give the child pure water to drink
  • Enhance the child’s immune defenses with probiotics, vitamin C, and zinc lozenges.
  • Reduce inflammation in the ear with essential fatty acids.
  • Provide the child with a whole foods diet including plenty of organic, raw vegetables to snack on when they are hungry. Meals should include more vegetables, quality protein, healthy fats, and whole grains.

I can refer you to a highly regarded practitioner of Oriental Medicine in Boulder who has tremendous success treating ear infections with Chinese herbs.  Contact me for more information.

Until next time, make every bite count!