The #1 reason why patients take theirchildren to the pediatrician’s office is toinvestigate an earache.Many of these visits result in a diagnosisof Otitis Media (OM).
From 1975 to 1990, office visits forOtitis Media increased by 150 percent –that’s nearly 24.5 million doctor visits.The leading age group of Otitis Mediasufferers is children under the age oftwo. So, if you are the parent of aninfant or toddler, it is important thatyou educate yourself about thiscondition.
What is Otitis Media?Otitis Media (OM) is the general namefor several conditions that can affect themiddle ear. This includes inflammationof the middle ear, ranging from acute tochronic.
Outward symptoms may be present, butnot always. For example, Acute OtitisMedia (AOM) is characterized bysymptoms of pain and fever.However Otitis Media with Effusion(OME) may or may not produce visiblesymptoms. “Effusion” simply meansthat there is fluid in the middle ear.
What are the Symptoms?The most obvious symptom of OtitisMedia is earache and the feeling ofpressure and blockagein the ear.If there is fluid in the middle ear, theremay be a temporary loss of hearing.
Due to their age, children may not be ableto verbally describe what they are feeling.However, you may notice them rubbing ortugging on the affected ear.Of course, this may be accompanied byfrequent crying.
Often parents are quick to assume thatthese symptoms point to an earinfection.However, teething often produces similarsymptoms, and even physicians mayjump to the conclusion that Otitis Mediais the cause.But, before you overreact, closelyobserve your child’s symptoms and, ofcourse, don’t delay seeking qualifiedcare.
Some Children are at Higher RiskThe Clinical Practice Guidelines, whichhave been established by the U.S.Government to give standard proceduresfor common ailments, concluded thatbottle-feeding, secondhand smoke andchildcare facilities can expose your childto a higher risk for Otitis Media withEffusion.
Other factors that may contribute areallergies and sensitivity to airbornesubstances.Even certain foods, such as dairyproducts, wheat, soy, corn and peanutsmay put your child at risk.
What does the U.S. Department ofHealth and Human Servicesrecommend?For Otitis Media with Effusion, the ClinicalPractice Guidelines suggest observation ofthe condition for a period of three to sixmonths.
After this initial observation period, drugtherapy may be indicated.The standard treatment for OM is a ten-day regimen of the antibiotic, amoxicillin.However, this may not be the best courseof action.
Does Drug Therapy Work?The purpose of antibiotics in treating earproblems in children is unclear.
George Washington University and theUniversity of Minnesota recentlyreviewed 33 studies evaluating the effectof various antibiotics for the treatment ofAcute Otitis Media.The review discovered that drugs onlyhave a slight advantage over the body’sown immune system.
A study published in the Journal of theAmerican Medical Association (JAMA)found that children with chronic earachesreceiving amoxicillin experienced 2 to 6times the rate of recurrence whencompared with those taking a placebo.
A review of antibiotic therapy for acuteOM revealed that there was poorevidence to support the usage ofantibiotics for children under two yearsof age.
There are a few circumstances whenantibiotics are called for or recommended,but those occur only when culture andsensitivity tests are done.Also important to consider is the fact thatdrug therapy may not eliminate the fluidpresent in the ear.
In fact, the drugs may cause side effectssuch as diarrhea, gastric intestinaldisturbances, nausea and vomiting.Drug-resistant strains of bacteria mayalso develop.Finally, in approximately 60 percent ofaffected children, middle ear fluid simplygoes away without treatment withinthree months.
A Common Sense Approach toOtitis MediaBefore you begin a regimen of drugtherapy for your child, you shouldcarefully consider chiropractic care.
A recent study was published in theJournal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatricsregarding the role of chiropractic care forchildren with Otitis Media.The results were very interesting.
Of the 332 children that participated, thestudy revealed that Otitis Media wasresolved in an average of only 4 visits inacute cases and an average of only 5visits in chronic cases.This data suggests the possibility thatchiropractic care may be more effectivethan drug therapy in addressing yourchild’s health.
While there is no guarantee thatchiropractic care will help your child, itdoes provide a sensible, non-invasiveapproach to managing your child’shealth.Talk to your qualified doctor ofchiropractic about how your child mightbenefit from regular visits.