Did you know?
There are over 5 million ear infections cases occur annually in US children, resulting in more than 10 million annual antibiotic prescriptions and about 30 million annual visits to doctor’s offices. Fifty percent of antibiotics for preschoolers in the US are prescribed for ear infections. – HealthyChildren.org:
Before we move on to why ear infections are so common in children, I want to stop and talk briefly about why the 10 million annual antibiotic prescriptions in children is such an alarming statistic.
By design, an antibiotic is used for a sickness resulting in a bacterial infection. The antibiotic enters the body and does a very good job of wiping out any bacteria it comes across. The problem is that much of that bacteria is found in the body normally and is very important to your child’s health. Many people know that the majority of your immune system is found in your gut and is in the form of healthy gut bacteria. The result of the antibiotic is a decrease in healthy gut bacteria resulting in a decrease in in the immune system!
Have you ever heard of a child that gets reoccurring ear infections? It is very rare that a child gets only one ear infection. The reason is that once we start utilizing routine antibiotics the immune system dips and you become more susceptible to future infections.
Lets now dive into ear infections and why they are so prevalent.
What are the signs and symptoms of ear infections in kids?
- Nasal Congestions
- Tugging of the Ears
- Runny Nose
- Most can also correspond with teething
Why are children prone to get them?
Ear infections (or acute otitis media) is an infection that takes place in the Eustachian tubes, which connects the ear canal to the throat. Children are prone to infections in this tube because of its short and horizontal orientation. The ear then looses the ability to drain properly and fluid trapped in a warm moist environment will grow bacteria.
The image above demonstrates the orientation of the Eustachian tubes in children vs adults. A child’s Eustachian tube is typically much more horizontal thus they are more prone to fluid not draining properly.
How does chiropractic care help with ear infections?
Specific and gentle adjustments to the top bone in the neck (atlas) result in a minor realignment of the Eustachian tubes. This results in an increased ability for the ears to drain naturally. The atlas sits less than 2mm under the Eustachian tube and the slightest of misalignment can cause the ear not to drain properly. The important thing to remember with adjusting children is that it takes the same amount of pressure as checking the ripeness of a tomato to make a specific adjustment to a child’s spine.
Are there other options for treating ear infections in kids?
- Prescription Antibiotics
- Tubes Placed in Eustachian Tubes
- Puncturing the Ear Drum
When should a child be checked by a chiropractor?
We tell every one of our parents that it is vital to get a child checked as early as possible. Many times ailments such as ear infections can be prevented and do not have to be common. The best time to get a child checked is when they are symptom free.
The goal is always to allow the body to heal and function at 100%!
When we can do this we can setup our families with the ability to live sickness and pain free.