The use of high-dose antibiotics to treat children's middle-ear infections increased over 20-fold between 1996 and 2004. One would expect that dramatic results are obtained by this treatment in order to justify the huge increase in a treatment riddled with side-effects. A new study shows that this is not the case. Failure rates in treatment have dropped only 1.3%, and relapse rates have increased by only .3%!
We would be much more productive if we treated with a combination of prevention and natural remedies. Most research over the past decade has actually supported using less antibiotics for ear infections (see this paper that supports rational guidelines for antibiotic use). We also know these things:
- Using herbs during cold and flu season, or when your child's immune system is run down, decreases the risk of developing colds, flu's, and other upper respiratory problems that put your child at risk of developing an ear infection. These include: echinacea, propolis, and Andrographis .
- Eating fermented foods rapidly increases the presence of healthy bacteria in mucous membranes--the bacteria compete with "bad" bacteria to help prevent ear infections.
- Chiropractic adjustments reduce the risk of ear infections and hasten recovery.
We also know that there are a host of side-effects associated with antibiotic use--some of which can be life long (read more here). That being said, there absolutely are times when antibiotics are appropriate--if your child has a sustained high fever (over 103 degrees f), is listless, or is unable to kick an ear infection after several days, take him or her to see your holistic doctor for an opinion.
Read the study here.