Most parents are familiar with the all-too-common ear infection, known medically as otitis media. They happen to be the most common ailment in preschool-aged children.

A new study from UCLA and Harvard University indicates that ear infections are not just a significant pain, but they also significantly increase medical costs. Ear infections are responsible for about $3 billion dollars annually in medical care and treatment.

While recent guideline changes have attempted to reduce the usage of antibiotics for ear infections, it’s difficult to reverse decades of prescribing habits. Ear infections remain the most common reason for antibiotics in young children. As we discussed in past blog posts, antibiotics come with side effects – including antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” altered digestion, and anaphylactic reactions.

Young children tend to be more susceptible to ear infections due to immature middle-ear drainage, higher exposure to respiratory-type infections, and an underdeveloped immune system. However, having young children does not mean you’re destined for a screaming child and pediatrician visits…

Chiropractors have been successfully caring for children for decades, and one of the most common reasons for pediatric visits to the chiropractor are, you guessed it, ear infections!

Physical trauma throughout life (birth process, falls, etc.) can cause subtle misalignments in the spinal bones of the upper neck. These “subluxations” can interfere with the Eustachian tubes and cause a backup of fluid in the ear, leading to infection. A simple, gentle correction to this misaligned vertebrae can help the ears drain normally and the nervous system improve immune function.

We’ve been very fortunate to help children cancel ear tube surgery, get off antibiotics, and break the cycle of recurrent ear infections.

Additionally, parents should be familiar with other lifestyle habits that support a strong immune system, including eliminating antibacterial soaps, getting plenty of sunshine, and incorporating appropriate supplements. If you’re interested in learning more, speak with me at your next appointment, and I’ll be happy to share my secrets to staying well!