Did you know that ear infections are the most common reason for pediatrician visits? Almost half of all children will experience at least one ear infection by the time they reach three years old. While many parents turn to antibiotics to treat their child’s ear infection, did you know that chiropractic care can also be an effective option? In this article, we will discuss how a pediatric chiropractor can help relieve symptoms of ear infections in children.
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What is an Ear Infection?
A middle ear infection, also known as acute otitis media, is a condition that results when fluid builds up behind the eardrum. This fluid becomes infected and can cause pain, fever, and difficulty hearing. Middle ear infections are most common in children under two because their ear canal is shorter and narrower than an adult’s ear canal and nasal passages. The narrow passage makes it easier for bacteria to become trapped in the ear and eustachian tube and, causing fluid to build up.
Acute Otitis Media (Middle Ear)
This type of ear infection typically lasts no more than three weeks.
Otitis Media with Effusion
This type of middle ear infection includes inflammation and buildup of fluid. Fluid may continue to build up even after the infection has gotten better.
Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media
This ear infection can last for months or even years. Children with chronic or repeated ear infections may require ear or neck surgery to insert ear tubes into their eardrums to drain the fluid and relieve pressure.
How do ear infections occur in children?
Several risk factors can contribute to an ear infection in children, including:
- Allergies: Children who have allergies are more likely to develop ear infections because allergies can cause inflammation in the nose and throat, leading to fluid buildup in the middle ear.
- Anatomy: Children’s ear canals are shorter and narrower than adults’, making it easier for bacteria to become trapped. Additionally, the Eustachian tube, which drains fluid from the middle ear, is narrower and horizontal in children. This makes it more difficult for fluid to drain correctly and increases the risk of infection.
- Cold or flu: Colds and flu viruses can cause inflammation in the Eustachian tubes, leading to fluid buildup and ear infections.
- Pacifiers: Children who use pacifiers are more likely to develop ear infections because sucking on a pacifier can block the Eustachian tubes and lead to fluid buildup.
What are the symptoms of ear infections in children?
The most common symptom of an ear infection is pain. This pain is typically located behind the ear and may worsen when lying down or pulling on the affected ear. Other symptoms of ear infections in children include:
- Difficulty hearing or responding to sound
- Mild hearing loss
- Loss of balance
- Fluid draining from the ear and sore throat
- Ear pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Tugging and pulling at the ear
Ways to Care for Ear Infections and Ear Pain in Children
There are several things you can do at home to care for your child’s ear infection, including:
- Applying a warm compress to the ear: This can help reduce pain and swelling.
- Giving your child over-the-counter pain medication: This can help relieve pain and discomfort.
- Keeping your child’s head elevated: This will help reduce pressure and pain in the ear. Let gravity help and place a pillow under their head or underneath their mattress while they sleep.
- Diet and Supplementation: Allergic reactions to food and poor diet can cause middle ear infections. If your child suffers from chronic otitis media or has more ear infections than what is expected, you may consider having your child tested for a food allergy. Try giving your child immune-boosting vitamins such as Vitamin C and foods rich in Zinc and Vitamin D3.
- Visit a chiropractor for a spinal adjustment: A pediatric chiropractor can help adjust the spine, alleviate ear pain, and boost your child’s immune system.
How Can a Pediatric Chiropractor Prevent Ear Infections?
A pediatric chiropractor is specially trained to care for children of all ages, from children younger than one year to adolescents. When it comes to ear infections, a pediatric chiropractor can provide gentle adjustments that help to improve drainage from the ear and reduce inflammation. In addition, a pediatric chiropractor will also work with you and your child on lifestyle changes that can help prevent ear infections from occurring in the future. These changes may include improving nutrition, reducing exposure to environmental toxins, and increasing overall immunity.