What are ear infections?
Otitis media, more commonly known as an ear infection, is inflammation and infection of the middle ear. It commonly presents with infants and toddlers pulling or tugging at their ears, redness in and around the ear, irritability, decreased appetite, and oftentimes a fever. Ear infections can be either bacterial or viral in nature and are often preceded by upper respiratory infections or allergies. There are three types of middle ear infections:
Acute Otitis Media [AOM]
Otitis Media Effusion [OME]
Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media [CSOM]
AOM is characterized as rapid onset ear pain, swelling and redness. Complications of untreated AOM may include fluid or mucus getting trapped inside the ear. OME is characterized as a feeling of fullness in the ears, typically without pain. CSOM is ear inflammation lasting longer than two weeks in conjunction with discharge from the ear. Untreated CSOM can result in increased difficulty fighting off new infections. All types of middle ear infections left untreated can result in hearing loss and trouble with speech and language development.
Who is susceptible to ear infections?
Infants and young children are more susceptible to ear infections than adults because of the positioning of their ear canal, the Eustachian tube. Stanford Children’s Health states that “More than 80 percent of children have at least one episode of otitis media by the time they are 3 years of age”. The ear canal in an infant is more horizontal and as we grow it starts to angle vertically allowing for better drainage. As our anatomy develops our chances of contracting ear infections decreases. Not only does our anatomy help our resistance to infection, our immune systems grow stronger as we age!
Keep in mind that food allergies and sensitivities, gut disruption, and low vitamin D levels can also contribute to ear infections. Talk to one of our doctors to seek further guidance if you suspect any of these.
How can chiropractic help with ear infections?
Chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat children with ear infections by facilitating specific adjustments. Chiropractic adjustments are safe and gentle for babies and children of all ages. Chiropractic is a noninvasive, yet very effective treatment for children suffering from ear infections, the many symptoms that accompany them, as well as boost the immune system. Common side effects of adjustments include, but are not limited to; reducing inflammation, increasing resistance to infection, decreasing emotional and physical irritability, increasing digestion, and increasing the ability to express life fully!
We also have several favorite supplements to use for ear infections, click here to read the article.