Otitis Media or inflammation of the middle ear is the most common problem leading to earaches in infants and young children. By the age of 3, more than 2/3 have had at least one episode of otitis media and 1/3 have had one or more. The goal of Naturopathic Medicine is to safely and quickly remove the cause of the inflammation and to prevent future problems by strengthening the immune system.
Otitis media is more common in winter when bacteria and viruses are out in full force and our natural resistance tends to be lowered by less exercise, fresh air and fresh foods along with an increase in exposure to cold, wet weather. Holiday indulgences of excessive amounts of sweets are often the last push into … “my ear hurts” … otitis media.
The underlying problem is an immune system weakened by diet, stress, food allergies or inadequate early treatment of a minor cold or infection. The sugar in one candy bar shuts down the immune system for up to 6 hours. Tonsillitis, measles, or mumps may affect the Eustachian tubes which in young children are shorter and more horizontal than in older children and adults. The tube is easily blocked and cannot drain into the back of the throat, so mucous builds up in the middle ear and this sets up a warm, moist home for rapid growth of organisms, too rapid for a weakened immune system to handle.
If otitis media is a chronic problem, allergies (both food and airborne) are the #1 suspect. Allergies are found in almost all (85 to 90%) of cases with recurring otitis media. Fortunately, natural treatments such as Classical Homeopathy, elimination of the common food allergens and addressing the underlying problem with respect to the immune system have afforded excellent long term success. Once the cause of the problem is addressed, the immune system will take care of any otitis media in the future.
Just a short reminder about fevers. FEVERS ARE OUR FRIENDS. NEVER INTERFERE WITH A FEVER. Fever is nature’s way of fighting and killing bacteria and viruses. You want the fever to reach between 39 & 40 degrees Celsius (and/or 102 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit). This is the optimal temperature which will eliminate the cause of the problem, and additionally, make antibodies to the disease so that the immune system is further strengthened.