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Articles by Natural Health Author Barbara Minton
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Treat Ear Infections Without Antibiotics
by Barbara Minton
(The Best Years in Life) Few things are worse than the crying in the night signaling an ear infection. Misery, missed school and a trip to the doctor for antibiotics have been standard procedure for decades. But now that the damage to health from antibiotics is known, many parents are looking for another healing method. Chiropractic offers a natural alternative to the medical establishment's "standard of care".
Why do we need an alternative to antibiotics? Probably the primary reason is that antibiotic use leads to resistant bacteria. Antibiotics are never able to kill all the bacteria involved in an infection, instead reducing them to a number that is hopefully manageable by the child's immune system. Bacteria evolve quickly, and random mutations may cause one or two of those that remain to have a gene that protects against antibiotic. The descendants of these mutated bacteria will have developed antibiotic resistance and will be resistant or even immune to that particular antibiotic drug.
"Superbugs" are bacteria that have become resistant to multiple antibiotics. They are extremely difficult to kill because antibiotics are useless against them. The result is that bacterial infections are becoming a constant danger to human life, just as they were before the invention of antibiotics. As a result, it is paramount that we look to other healing methods that work.
Another reason for seeking out alternatives to antibiotics is the damage antibiotics do to the friendly bacteria that normally populate the body, particularly those that inhabit the digestive tract. Whenever antibiotics are used, friendly bacteria are killed off along with the invaders, leaving the intestinal tract wide open to be repopulated with unfriendly microorganisms.
intervention Chiropractic stops earaches
When we think of alternative medicine, chiropractors may not leap to mind. But chiropractic is the most utilized field of alternative medicine. Chiropractors work with infants and young children as well as adults to correct misalignments in the spine or other joints that negatively impact the nervous system, the master controller of all the processes in the body, including the immune system. When the immune system is at its peak, disease cannot get started, and when any negative drag upon the immune system is eliminated, good health quickly returns.
Subluxation is any displacement that creates an impediment to proper functioning of the nervous system. When a subluxation is present in the cervical (neck) area of the spine, proper drainage of lymph fluid from the ears is often affected. Lymph is a fluid of the immune system that is found between the cells of the human body. Lymph fluid carries lymphocytes to and from the lymph nodes and helps to collect foreign microbes, including disease causing bacteria and viruses. In the lymph nodes, these foreign microbes are destroyed. When the lymph system is not flowing as it should, drainage from the ears and head becomes backed up, leading to ear infection.
Chiropractic care operates on the basic principal underlying all alternative medicine: give the body what it needs and it will heal itself. Chiropractic adjustment can release slowed lymph drainage and restore proper immune system functioning, enabling the body to prevent infection and heal any infection that is present.
Dr Joe Esposito, chiropractor and founder of Alignlife takes the management of childhood earaches very seriously. "Although it may be a health condition some consider a simple 'fad' that children will grow out of, the long term health implications from treatment can last a lifetime."
He recommended parents play a proactive role in managing ear infections, especially in the first year of life. This can be accomplished by planning a natural child birth when possible, breast feeding for at least the first six months of life, delayed introduction of cow's milk until at least twelve months of age and keeping the mother's diet as healthy as possible during pregnancy and breast feeding.
"Research shows that introducing antibiotics increases the risk of asthma significantly during the first year of life," says Dr. Esposito. "One round of antibiotics can raise the risk of asthma by 12% and three rounds of antibiotics will increase the risk by a shocking 30%!" And the asthma risk continues after the first year of life.
"Antibiotic therapy increases the risk of all autoimmune diseases such as allergies, rheumatoid disorders, digestive concerns, and others" says Dr. Esposito writing for Alignlife. "When antibiotics are given at numerous times in the first year of life, damage occurs to the permeability (penetration) of the child's gut lining allowing undigested foods to prematurely transfer from the gut to the blood which causes the body's immune system to attack the undigested food as if it were an infection. This immune reaction creates a massive cascade shifting the child's innate, healthy immune system to a paranoid, hyper-responsive immune system." This is a life altering change.
When he completes a digestive analysis on children that have had multiple episodes of antibiotic therapy, Dr. Esposito usually sees that their guts are covered in millions of yeast and other fungal infections and harmful bacteria. "Since the digestive stool analysis is rarely evaluated in conventional medicine, these children go through life with faulty digestion, a weak immune system, chronic gut infections and overall reduced health. These conditions often lead down the road of chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety and numerous other conditions managed with a drug cocktail of antidepressants, sleeping pills, digestive aids, caffeine and excess sugar."
In addition to being proactive in the prevention of childhood earaches, the role of chiropractic in managing the condition has been very successful. If there is neurological stress in the upper neck of the child (which could stem from the birth process itself) the child will continue to suffer from episodes of earaches until the integrity of the nerve is repaired.
Chiropractic adjustment is done with exact but gentle manipulation, accompanied by a light lymphatic massage. In addition, many chiropractors now provide nutritional counseling and recommendations for herbs and essential oils that can speed healing and help maintain wellness.
Additional effective natural treatments for ear infection
One such oil frequently recommended is eucalyptus. A few drops of eucalyptus oil can be added to a humidifier to help break up ear congestion as well as sinus congestion. Two drops of tea tree oil can be mixed with twenty drops of olive oil to create an effective oil with which to massage the outer ears. Apply the oil in a light stroking pattern going diagonally from behind the ears down to the collarbone. Garlic and a few drops of mullein oil, warmed and dropped into the infected ear works well to decrease pain and inflammation. This can be covered with a cotton ball. However, nothing should be put into the ear if there is a discharge.
These are the recommendations of Phyllis and James Balch in Prescription for Nutritional Healing:
Dr. Esposito's recommendation for parents
Dr. Esposito's message to parents: "If you are wondering when you should take your child to the doctor for an earache or for that matter, a cold, a fever, etc. then I suggest you read How to Raise a Child in Spite of Their Doctor. If there was one book that I would tell all parents to read this would be that book."
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