Ear Infections

Archived Q&A and Reviews

17-month-old is perpetually on antibiotics

April 2008

Can anyone recommend an alternative or complimentary therapy and /or complimentary therapy doctor to treat or prevent children's ear infections?

My 17 month old has had so many ear incfetcions that I've lost count. He seems to be perpetually on antibiotics. Every time he gets a cold, he gets an ear infection. My pediatrician keeps perscribing antibiotics and none of them work. We end up going on 2 to 3 rounds of different antibiotics each time. Honestly, I think his body heals itself and the antibiotics don't do anything. His teeth are becoming discolored from so much antibiotic use and his dentist says that it may affect his permanant teeth. Not to mention that we're breeding super bacteria that are becomming resistant to a lot of antibiotics.

With each ear infection, his eating significantly decreases and he loses weight. His weight has been a medical concern in the past but now he is in the 5th percentile so he's ok but there has got to be another way to treat his ear infections. Any suggestions would be very appreciated. THANK YOU!! Tammie

My daughter had the same problem when she was about 2 years old. I decided to try the homeopathic approach; I also followed her doctor adivice to have no stuffed animals in her bed at night and to limit milk intake. For calcium I gave her fortified orange juice and offered her cheese more often. She rarely catched colds afterwards and only had one ear infection episode - she is now almost 18 and healty. gh

My 10 month old has had multiple ear infections from December until recently. She had periferated her right ear drum every time, and received antibiotics which did work, but we were very concerned about the amount and frequency she took the antibiotics. I was horrified of getting ''tubes''. The more I discussed it with other parents the better it sounded. Children only had minor,infrequent, if any ear infections after the tubes.

We went to Dr. Wesman (ENT) to discus all the options. When I saw the ''tubes'' I was releived. They look like tiny beads. My baby went through with the operation. She had an ear infection at the time, everything went smoothly. He performs approximately 500 a year. She has had 2 cold since the operation and no ear infection for the first time. We are very happy with no regrets!! The first months/years of life are very important for acquiring speech sounds and language. I would not wait. The other most affective treatment I was told was staying at home with your child. Pamela

1) Please get a new doctor. My son has had a few ear infections and our physician has never prescribed an antibiotic -- only an ear drop to numb the pain. The ear infections have always cleared up quickly. And, if your child does have recurring serious ear infections, then your doctor should be considering ear toobs. 2) We have always used the homeopathic ear ache remedies -- available at Whole Foods and probably elsewhere. They seem to lessen the pain and length of the earache. Antibiotic Free Child

I know you will probably hate this advice, but I am going to give it anyway. You have probably been advised by the pediatrician to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) regarding your child's recurrent ear infections. You probably suspect this person will recommend surgery to install ear tubes. Although your request was for alternative therapies, I strongly recommend that you at least consider ear tubes. The thing is, some kids just have very small or slightly odd-shaped ear canals, that do not allow the junk that accumulates during colds to drain out. This junk is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria -- hence the ear infections. The tubes drain it out. My child went from a 10-days-on, 10- days-off antibiotic pattern, to no more ear infections at all, ever, as a result of one 5 minute surgery. In addition, the junk that accumulates in the ear canals can cause hearing difficulties and language delays that can last for years. So allowing it to drain has many advantages. Seeing someone like Dr. Wesman at Children's Hospital Oakland would really be a good idea. He's quite conservative, explains the options, and allows you to make your own decisions about things like surgery. Karen

Osteopathic medicine claims to be able to effectively treat recurrent ear infections in children. I have no personal experience with osteopathy, but have a friend who highly recommends Dr. Theresa Hong DO (415) 673-2771 and Dr. Hennie Sholars DO (415) 401-1630. Both of these doctors are parents but I don't know if their practice includes children. Good Luck

I had twins who were having a lot of ear fluid problems and the ENT really was pushing for ear tubes. I was opposed to this and very much regretted having given them antibiotics over and over. They have never had normal bowel movements since that period of time (over three years ago). Their regular doctors have no answers and I have spent tons of money looking for alternative cures for them. (That is my own personal warning against antibiotic use/overuse). As for the ears, I have done a couple of things with success. First, run- don't walk to an osteopath who can do cranial-sacral manipulation on children. I'll let you look into the explainations behind the treatment if it interests you, but they can help to free up any restrictions in the movement of their cranial-sacral fluid that could be leading to blockages in the ears. One of my twins had thick black blood just sitting behind his eardrum for a while and it was gone within a few days after his first treatment. I can't promise everyone such a miracle but it kept me coming back. I've also been helped many times by an osteopath. I highly recommend it. We also took them to a naturopath who recommended hot/cold compresses instead of antibiotics. It's 2 minutes each of hot-cold-hot-cold-hot. The hot brings the immunity boosting white blood cells to the area (the ear and right below) and then the cold helps to whoosh it and the infection away. That and different alternative immunity boosting supplements safe for children plus avoiding possible alergy triggers (for us it's dairy and soy) have gotten us through that problem. Now, if one of them is sick and starts to complain of ear problems I do the compresses right away and that is usually all it takes- no more complaints after that. Try letting your child watch tv with a snack while you do it to keep him/her still. I try to avaoid antibiotics now unless it's life or death because we have had such bad experiences with them. Once I started doing my own research I found that there are so many other less harmfull solutions to the problems that our regular doctors sometimes throw a quick fix at with such negative side effects to our health. I am much more careful now. CB

Hi! We went through the very same problems with my 2 year-old daughter, she would have one ear infection/month. The fact that she was born with a cleft and had asthma attacks made everyhting worse... Anyway, I can highly recommend Cathleen Henderson, an osteopath on Ensenada, off Solano Ave. in Berkeley. She is usually not covered by insurance, but her gentle treatments really work. We started out with weekly visits, then transitioned into biweekly etc. After two months of treatments, my daughter started getting better. She has had some fluid on her ear a couple of times, but I treated it with a homeopathic oil plus Cathleen's massages and the ear infections never returned. Our last infection was last September!!! Good luck! Anon

My son went through the exact same thing. You don't say what your health insurance situation is, but eventually, our primary care pediatrician gave up and referred us to Dr. Wesman, the head of ENT over at Children's Hospital in Oakland. We got tubes, which then fell out, then got a second set of tubes and removed the adenoids. Our son was such an unusual case (sounds like yours) that he continued to get ear infections even with the tubes, but I still think they are a good idea. For one, you know immediately when he gets an ear infection, because you can see drainage coming out of the ear. There is no buildup of fluid in the ear. And you can treat with lower doses of antibiotics dropped straight into the ear. It is a long road, and I feel your frustration, but they eventually do outgrow it. Whether or not you decide to get tubes (not without controversy, I guess), you should demand a referral to a specialist. Dr. Wesman is supposedly the best in the business. The Ears Have It

9-month-old with many ear infections

April 2008

My 9 month old baby has gone through 6 rounds of antibiotics for ear infections that just don't seem to want to go away. They get somewhat better during the course of antibiotics, but then return full force, causing him lots of pain. They are not the kind of infections that die out on their own, and one time his eardrum perforated as a result. I've gotten a lot of advice about alternative treatments, all of which I appreciate, but I don't know where to start. I'd like to find someone who has had success in a similar situation with their child.. what did you do? And, if anyone knows of an alternative (or not) health care practitioner who has helped multiple babies with this condition, I would deeply appreciate a referral. I'm feeling concerned for his immune system, being on all these antibiotics all the time, and for his hearing, with all the ear problems.

When my kid had repeated ear infections and her hearing was suffering in one ear and she began to get yeast infections, we opted to get off the antibiotic merry-go-round, protect her hearing and get tubes put in her ears. It was a bit scary but a great solution. no more ear infections. Dr. Wiesman (sp?) at children's did it. Hope you find a road that works for you and your child. anonymous

I'd check into ear tubes. After going 6 months with at least one ear infection per month and allergies to several antibiotics, our ped recommended ear tubes for our daughter (then 13 mo.)She did have one more infection after that, but none since. Four years later, she hasn't had to have antibiotics for anything! Surgery seemed scary, but I think it was a far kinder option in the long run. Recurrent ear infections can also cause hearing issues. Our daughter does have significant scarring on her ear drum from the infections, but thankfully, no hearing loss. hengel

My friend reduced the frequency of her child's ear infections by eliminating casein (dairy) from her diet. Another friend's mother treated his ear infections with warm oil in his ears; he now has significant hearing loss, so I wouldn't recomend that. I'm very sorry to hear about your child's ear drum being perforated during an untreated ear infection. Maybe you could pre-order a round of antibiotics so that if the next home treatment doesn't work, your baby doesn't have to suffer any longer than necessary. I had my first ear infection at the age of 30, and I was at the doctor after just one hour of pain, so I really feel for your baby. Concerned

A good friend just got ear tubes for her 18-month old. She had them when she was a kid too. She hated the part about the baby going in for surgery, but the good news is that the baby was well enough to go back to day care in the afternoon, and as soon as she came out of the anesthesia, she was talking up a storm, much more than she had been--as if suddenly she could hear and talk! Ear tubes are often overlooked. (the only down side being that I think you have to protect them from water, and wear ear plugs for swimming). I have another friend whose kid had constant ear and other infections, some behavioral problems, speech problems and development issues, and it turns out that he is probably gluten intolerant. A couple months w/o gluten and he grew a couple inches, is a nicer kid and has made it through this winter w/o antibiotics!

Acupuncture for ear infections in children?

April 2008

Does anyone have experience with acupuncture as a treatment for chronic ear infections in small children? My 15-mo. old son has already had four ear infections, and he may be getting a fifth. My pediatrician has raised the possibility of tubes, which I'd like to avoid if at all possible. I've heard that acupuncture can be an effective treatment but I can't find much information about the efficacy or safety of it for this medical issue - and in such a small child. I'd appreciate any information/thoughts you can share. Many thanks. Laura

We didn't try acupuncture, but when our daughter was an infant/toddler and getting numerous ear infections, we started taking her to our chiropractor. He explained that the infections are caused by fluids not being able to drain, and getting infected. The adjustments facilitated fluid drainage. We started taking her in whenever she was a little bit sniffly or seemed like she was coming down with a cold, and she didn't get any more ear infections - except the one time we neglected to bring her in early. We still bring her in when she gets colds; although she no longer gets ear infections (she's 10 now) she is prone to sinus infections. The adjustments seem to ward those off, too. Lisa

I also have a 15mo who has had a few ear infections in her short lifetime. Some things that I would recommend before acupuncture are: craniosacral massage, chiropractic, removing all dairy products from your child's diet (and yours, too, if you are breastfeeding), giving your child a probiotic daily, and treating colds with echinacea, vitamin c, and homeopathy so that there is less of a chance they will turn into ear infections. I made these changes and we've been ear infection free for three months! ear infection savvy

We've had very good experiences with osteopathy for ear infections. Carmen Herring (526-5256, on santa fe in berkeley) has been great. I found this easier than acupuncture for the little ones. Rachel

As you have asked for any advice, I venture that while I like acupuncture for other things, I would highly recommend homeopathy for ear infections. Particularly Christine Ciavarella, at the Hahnemann Clinic. She is wonderful and also will tell you if she thinks homeopathy is not so good for one condition or another. She will also spend a lot of time with you consulting. The first visit is very pricey, but subsequent visits are not and she has a sliding scale overall. The medicine is incredibly cheap. I have had great results with my own ear infections with homeopathy and heard countless stories of success with children. I have used it for my son as well with success. She is in El Cerrito in the plaza. Her number is: 524-3117 Susan-Jane

Hi, I don't know much about acupuncture, but I do know this. Dairy can be the culprit for ear infections for small children. Try getting your child off of milk (except your own!) Sylvie

I have not used acupuncture for this, but our son had recurring ear infections until about 18 months, when we went (for the first time) to a homeopath and he never had one again. I have also heard that osteopaths have good success with childhood ear infections. Melissa

There is no evidence that acupuncture works in babies. More important, a baby with a painful ear infection is not going to enjoy having needles poked into him for no reason. Even worse, an untreated ear infection can cause permanent damage to your baby's hearing.

Does your baby use a pacifier? Excess pacifier use has been shown to triple the incidence of ear infections in children.

Is your baby drinking enough liquids? Plenty of liquids are needed to help keep the mucous thin and easy to drain, especially if your baby has a cold or allergies.

Did your pediatrician recommend a decongestant to help keep the eustacian tubes open to improve drainage?

Otherwise, I would think that sticking with the amoxicillin would be preferable to surgery. Cautious

Our daughter developed drug-resistant ear infections. She would get one infection, take antibiotics, and within a week or so of finishing the antibiotics her ears would be flaming with another infection. Taking dairy away was NOT an option for this kid - she LOVES milk and cheese. We should have Strauss Family Creamery in our back yard. We couldn't really consider tubes an option, as our daughter swims like a fish. So....Catherine Henderson to the rescue! We did a series of Oseopathic treatments with her and the ears cleared right up. Catherine even called which ear got infected first. It was pretty amazing. She is a gifted osteopath. Good luck! Julia

[Editor Note Nov 2017: Catherine Henderson has notified us that she is no longer practicing in California.]

How to Avoid Ear infections?

Feb 2007

My 13 month old just came down with an acute ear infection. His health has been remarkably good-in fact, I don't think he was sick once in his first 10 months of life. A miracle given that he goes to daycare everyday and has an older sister in preschool. However, in the past two months he has been sick nonstop- intestinal flu, horrible diarrhea, many colds (one after another it seems) and now the recent ear infection.

My question involves what might be causing the ear infection. My daughter also exhibited a pattern similar to his, except she was actually sick a few times in her first year as well. She got 3 ear infections almost back to back at this same time of year and same age (their birthdays are just 4 days apart so it is easy to track/compare what happened with one at a given time of year etc). With her, it seemed to coincide with the introduction of cow's milk. I read something 3 years ago about the association between dairy and ear infections so I decided to pull her off of it. She drank soy milk, but still ate yogurt, cottage cheese etc. She never got another ear infection and she is 4 now. The only downside (or up, dependingon what your stance is) is that she doesn't like to drink cow milk so we make sure she eats yogurt, cheese and drinks some soy milk. I have started to limit her soy milk consumption with the latest reports on soy milk.

My question is: Has anyone ever experienced something similar with cow milk or heard of this? Can it just be coincidental, possibly that it had more to do with the fact that it was winter, the baby had recently stopped nursing etc.?? Oh, and seemingly neither of my children have allergies (although I guess they could pop up at any time-neither my husband nor I have any allergies to food or otherwise)

Oh, and he is 100% better 24 hours later with amoxicillin. My ped said that with acute infections that look like his he recommends antibiotics. So..my concern is figuring out how to avoid this in the future. Thanks!! tired mommy with crabby baby

You didn't mention if you child is drinking from bottles....This may be of no use, but I've heard that drinking lying down can cause ear infections. anon

Cow's milk is linked to allergies and ear infections. In his book Pregnancy, Children, and the Vegan Diet, Michael Klaper, M.D., explains how the proteins found in cow's milk create a health hazard. He writes, ''... a common reaction to such an assault by a foreign [bovine] protein in our immune systems is an outpouring of mucus from the nasal and throat membranes. ... The resulting mucus flow can create chronic runny nose, persistent sore throats, hoarseness, bronchitis, and the recurrent ear infections that plague so many children.'' anon

We have been able to avoid ear infections and ear pain by responding with garlic/mullein oil at the first sign of pain or symptoms. It has worked well with our kids at all ages, and we have been able to avoid antibiotics every time, except one time after a plane flight when we didn't have the oil with us. At Whole Foods or another health food store you can buy garlic/mullein oil. One company that makes this is Herbpharm. Put one or two drops in each ear, having child lie on side so the oil goes down into ear. mirsun

If your child recently weaned, I would definitely attribute it to that. Of course, breastfeeding is not a fail-proof method of preventing illness but it does go an awfully long way toward keeping babies and toddlers healthy, as well as minimizing the effects of whatever bugs they do pick up. This is scientific fact, not just anecdotal -- though my personal experience bears it out. There's also a genetic component to susceptibility to ear infections -- it has to do with the length and shape of the ear canal, as I understand it -- so there isn't much you can do about that. But for general health, of course, you just pay attention to hygiene (lots of hand washing) and nutrition and make sure your child is getting enough sleep. Some people swear by particular vitamin supplements, but that's not an area I know anything about. (My son had his first, and only, ear infection at age 5 -- a year and a half after he weaned. My 2yo daughter's still nursing and hasn't had anything more serious than a runny nose.) Loves Nursing Toddlers!

I think when kids blow their noses it can cause the bacteria in their noses and throats to back up into their eustacian (sp?) tubes which lead to the middle ear. wipe their snot but discourage them from blowing their nose when they have a cold. anon

Here is my experience, for what it is worth. I had frequent ear infections as a child as well. When I was about 6, my mom had me tested for food allergies and found that I was allergic to dairy and wheat. Immediately after I stopped eating those foods, I stopped getting ear infections. She gradually re- introduced those foods about 2 or 3 years later. Since then, I have only gotten serious ear infections twice in the last 20 years. On the other hand, my daughter got four ear infections in one winter a few years ago (when she was 2). The pediatrician recommended tubes, but I decided to wait one year to see what happened - and the next winter she was fine. There is research showing that many children ''grow out of'' ear infections, and that experiences like I had with the food allegies are purely coincedental, so I am not sure what I believe. my two cents

18-month-old with many ear infections

Oct 2006

Hi, My 18 month old has had 5 ear infections and around 7 or more rounds of antibiotics to treat them. They started 6 months ago when we traveled to New Zealand and she got a terrible cold and then double ear infections that took 2 rounds of antibiotics to cure. Since then her infections have not started with a cold, they just appear. I am looking for a recommendation for a great ENT. I am seeking chiropractic ( massage ) relief for her as well. I am uncomfortable having her on any more rounds of antibiotics and with winter coming up we think we should ask for tubes to be placed in her ears. Her pediatrician seems really laid back about the situation and today her ears are looking perfect. So she has recommended that we wait and if Tiernan gets another infection that we should see an ENT. I would welcome some advice from anyone with similiar experience. Thanks, Tia

Since your little guy has had a bunch of bouts with ear infections, you may want to have his hearing tested by an audiologist. I know pediatric offoices can test hearing, but usually an audiologist is more skiled and has a far better set up. I'm not sure if pediatric offices even test 18 month olds anyway...but audiologist do. When my then 4 yr old had one ear that wasn't seeming to hear well (even when it wasn't infected) we took her to an ENT for a check in. The ENT was a great one at Childrens (Dr. Wesman?). His in-house audiologist was a lovely woman to work with. She did a very throgough exam of my child's hearing. I know they have ways of checking the hearing of younger children too. So - if I were you, I'd express my concern to my pediatrician about the state of my child's hearing. (can they hear you if one of their ''good'' ear is on their pillow? Can they hear you whisper in one ear in a loud room?). My child's hearing was temporarily impacted even when he was not in pain. I have heard of other children whose hearing is more permanently impacted to a slight degeree dus to extended ear infections or fluid in the ear. So push your ped. if you need to to get that referal to the ENT. Get the ENT to look at your kids ears, and have their associated audiologist do so, too. The main thing you want to preserve, regarding their ears, is their hearing. So focus on that. Wesman did not push toe tubes, and we came in for check ups for a while, with associated hearing tests. In our case, we got tubes in our kids ears at 4 yrs old cuz I wanted him to have his full range of hearing, and i wnated him to not be on so many rounds of antibiotics. It is a little bit stressful even for this surgery, as a parent. But the end benfits were great both for our kids hearing, and for getting their little body off of antibiotics. Even with all that, my now preteen still doesn't respond when I call his name....but that probably isn't a hearing issue Grateful Mom

I know that you wanted an ENT in the WC area, but there are 2 fantastic ENTs at Children's (they might have some satellite clinics out your way, try their office). I would recommend Dr. Bill Lewis and Dr. Wesman. I have worked with both of them. As you mentioned now is the time for action, before winter comes East Bay Pediatrician

It sounds like tubes could be a good idea, since the infections are not following on colds, so it's likely there is fluid in there between infections. The pediatrician can do a test between infections to verify the presence of fluid, called a tympanogram (quick and painless). My son had tubes placed at Children's Hospital by Dr. Drury. We saw him in Berkeley, but he may also practice out near you. Either way, if you do choose tubes, I strongly recommend having it done at Children's. The difference of having the entire hospital staff and equipment focused on children really helps reduce stress on you and your child. Good luck! Ellen

Robert Wesman, M.D. at Children's Hospital Oakland is truly an outstanding pediatric ear nose and throat surgeon. As he has with thousands of children, Dr Wesman helped our 1 1/2 yo son overcome recurring ear infections. Wish he had visited him earlier: our son's pain disappeared, he could hear clearly and began talking right away.

Frequent ear infections in 3-year-old

Jan 2006

My dd had her third ear infection for the past week. She started her preschool (she is now three years old) this september so we are kind of prepared for the frequent cold/fever etc, but not ear infection. Now it seems to me that every time she has a more than a minor cold, she will ends with ear infection and antibiotics. This time when we catched it, her pediatrician said the ear infection is still minor and suggested we delay the antibiotics and see (she just finished her last round of antibiostics two weeks ago beucase of strep). But it did not improve after three days. So here the antibiotics goes again.

It looks to me that some kids are just more prone to ear infection than others. My dd also had eczema. I mentioned it, not knowing whether these two can somehow related, like sensitive to environments. But her allergy test showed all negative (which we already know is not accurate at all).

I like to know how other parents handle this situation. Is there any way to possibly ''prevent'' it from happening? HOw about homeopathy or chinese herd medicine? Any experience?

Thanks and happy, healthy new year to all. anon

I would absolutely see Christine Ciavarella, a wonderful homeopath, in El Cerrito. She cured my son's ear infection without antibiotics, and has daily ear-check clinics so she can monitor your child's progress. She's also a Physician's Assistant and really knows what she's doing!

My children have had frequent ear infections too. I take my kids to Christine Ciavarelli at the Hahnemann Medical Clinic near the El Cerrito shopping center (524 -3117). She is a physician's assistant and homeopath. She is a wonderful, kind, caring and very perceptive woman. She has a time in her practice for daily ear checks so you can come back after an initial appointment to have your child's ear looked at. She will only prescribe antibiotics if it is really necessary, but otherwise will suggest many things you can do yourself and homeopathy. Also, she referred us to Nancy Burke in Richmond for some cranial sacral therapy to address some of the underlying issues (Nancy's number is 236-1007). The treatment of both these wonderful healers has made a great difference in my children's health and well- being and they have both outgrown the infections. I hope this helps. Best wishes, Yvonne Mansell

You might try osteopathy. It's worked for my toddler son, for the same problem your daughter's having, and for me, for sinus infections (I'd tried everything else--herbs, acupuncture, and even surgery). For me and my son, and maybe your daughter, the problem was that congestion wasn't draining from our sinuses; it'd just get trapped. That meant that every cold or bout of allergies led to an infection and antibiotics. And eventually the bugs get resistant to the antibiotics--it's not a good cycle to be in. An osteopath releases tissues to allow the congestion to drain. This means no more ear infections! Catherine Henderson on Solano Ave worked for my son. Catherine's D.O. is from England, so so she operates as a massage therapist here. Nancy Burke also gets very good reviews. Katy

[Editor Note Nov 2017: Catherine Henderson has notified us that she is no longer practicing in California.]

If the ear infections have been that close together....it is probably a bug that has been supressed by the amoxicillin but not cleared up. Zithromax is not the best for ear infections. Amoxicillin is the first line med, then if another ear infection crops up within a month of the other, the child should have augmentin, because most likely, the infection is the same as the initial one and is reoccuring, not a new infection. Same thing happened to my little one last year, didn't stop until Augmentin was taken. Good luck been there

I am of the impression (and am not a medical professional) that some people just inherit eustacian tubes that are more prone to infection or other blockage (narrower perhaps?) like my husband, myself and my daughter. When my then 4 yr. old girl had so many ear infections that her hearing was being impacted on one side (even when she didn't have an active infection), and when antibiotic treatments began to bring on yeast infections, I opted for the physical solution and had tubes put in her ears. Her doctor (Weismann?) did not push this solution at all, but did support it. The tubes were quite effective. Mom

Yes, some kids are more prone to ear infections than others. And much as you may not want to hear this, it usually has to do with the physcial shape of their inner ear structure -- some just do not drain the excess fluid associated with a cold as well as others. My son's is like this, and he gets it from both my husband (who had ear tubes put in as a child) AND from me (I get totally stuffed up ears every single time I get a cold, and it takes weeks to improve). The answer for my son has been ear tubes. Twice. Eliminated the ear infections, improved his hearing. In my experience, the alternative med route just isn't really consistently effective. Karen

Sorry for your daughter's discomfort. The regular cycle of antibiotics is hard on her body. Homeopathy is a great idea for these things that western medicine doesn't really address, that is, her tendency to get infected ears. Call Christine Ciavarella at the Hahnemann Medical Clinic at 524-3117. She's great with kids and has solved a lot of kids' ear problems. And teething problems, and sleep problems, and behavior problems, and . . . Bonnie

I've heard from several sources that recurrent use of antibiotics for ear infections can actually cause them to keep recurring. It seems like there is an imbalance of good bacteria in your child's immune system that is causing her to keep getting infections - and antibiotics are only going to exacerbate that. I had recurrent ear infections as a baby and took tons of antibiotics because my mom didn't know better and she was not given any other option. As a result, my internal balance of good and bad bacteria and candida have forever been affected (I'm 34).

I can really empathize! My 3 y.o. girl had 3 separate ear infections in December along with chronic nasal congestion. It is the nasal congestion that leads to the tendency to ear infections in susceptible kids because the eustachian tube, the tube that connects the back of the nose to the middle ear, allows mucus from a post- nasal drip to enter behind the ear drum. If the tube is narrow or at a relatively flat angle between the eardrum and the nose (which it is in a lot of little kids), then mucus does not drain easily, leading to a nice media where bacteria and viruses can grow. (I'm a pediatrician but knowing these things doesn't always help you when your own kid is sick all the time!) Chronic nasal congestion can be caused by a series of colds all in a row, allergies (unlikely this time of the year), or a low-grade sinus infection with inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages (pretty likely at this time of year, especially if your kid has been sick a lot). What finally worked, (after first trying to wait it out without antibiotics, then 3 courses of antibiotics, several 1/2 hour long tantrums over a 3 week period, and a distraught mom after one super-duper tantrum in the car where my 3 year old almost pulled my hair out--literally) was a 2 week course of an inhaled steroid, flonase. Flonase is an antiinflammatory and decreases sinus swelling and swelling around the eustachian tube allowing better mucus drainage. My daughter had been slightly ''snorty'' and snored slightly at night for literally months--good old mom just ignored it figuring it was ''just a little allergy,'' and not worth dealing with since she could sleep at night. (Ironically, if one of my patients had come to me with this history, I would have actually treated it). After 2 weeks of flonase (I stopped it 2 weeks ago), her nose cleared, her ears cleared, and she no longer snores. Interestingly, today we got guidelines for treating pediatric sinus infections from the Ear, Nose and Throat dept. (I work for Kaiser), and they said the first line treatment for a mild sinus infection is to try an antiinflammatory medication even before antibiotics. If your child is chronically congested, I would give that a try. Good luck! Madelyn

10-month-old with severe ear infections

Nov 2005

I have a ten month old who has her second 'severe' ear infection. The first one, a few weeks ago, went undiagnosed after six days of high fever. When put on amoxicillan, she got diarrhea and her temp dropped too low (we almost had to take her to the ER). Then she broke out in a rash over her entire body six days into the antibiotic treatment, and the doctor said it was a reaction to the amoxicillan. Now we (hesitatingly) put her on another antibiotic, a cousin to amoxycillan, and two days into it she, again, has a lot of diarrhea. I'm so frustrated and concerned that I stopped this antibiotic.

It seems that for every piece of info about ear infections, there is a counter argument. I asked the doctor about possible food allergy as a factor, i.e. dairy. She said that she never heard of that correlation before. This is a progressive Berkeley pediatrician. Others I speak to are sure that food is one cause.

Has anyone had success with any kind of alternative treatment for ear infection besides antibiotics? We've endured many sleepless nights already, and I don't feel right giving endless antibiotics every time she gets sick. Thanks

You might wish to check out Janet Zand's $20 paperback book called SMART MEDICINE FOR A HEALTHIER CHILD. Ear infections are serious when not treated. But why your baby is so vulnerable to infection so often is the underlying question. When one know that most of the immune system is in and around the gut, the connection to foods becomes clear. Early introduction to solids, particularly grains, can be tough on a baby's gut. A great place to get some dietary guidance (besides from a nutrition professional specializing in children) is from The Weston A. Price Foundation (www.westonaprice.org). Their last quarterly WISE TRADITIONS had a entire section on feeding babies. If you subscribe ($40, tax deductible) you can get that edition now. Nori

I am absolutely sure that my daughter's recurring ear infections were caused by dairy. Dairy was also causing her to have terrible diaper rashes. Both problems went away COMPLETELY when we removed dairy from her diet. I think it's worth a try in your case. Good Luck. joan

My nephew had several ear infections the first year of his life. The first at 2 weeks old. Everytime he went on antibiotics he would have horrible diarrhea and tummy upset, which is very typical with any antibiotic... even happens to adults. Just so you know that is to be expected. What my brother claims finally worked for my nephew was seeing a chiropractor... now I don't agree with taking an infant to see a chiropractor, but my brother swears it worked and my nephew often fell asleep on the table. I've laso heard that some children just have short eustation (sp?) tubes and are prone to ear infections until the get older and you should avoid feeeding them laying down and what not. Hope your daughter feels better soon anon

I had excellent results with accupuncture for ear infections when my daughter was little. (She outgrew them.) I went to Brian Barlay at 330-41st St., Oakland, 94609, 510-654-7040. He has been incredible with both of my kids. (My son got treated for asthma, which he has also outgrown.) Sarah

We went through this when my son was 11 mos. He had something like 8 ear infections during the next 7 mos and had a raction to amoxycillin as well. We tried a different antibiotic every time. It turned out he had a severe sinus infection which would abate during the treatment for the ear infection and then reappear as an ear infection 2 weeks later. So I would talk about this possibility with your physician. Once my son was properly treated, he never had an ear infection again. Good Luck! Ears to you and yours

We had tremedous success with my toddler son's ear infection with Christine Ciaverella in Albany (behind the El Cerrito plaza). She is a PA and a homeopath, so --while she treats the infection homeopathically--she will do ear checks every few days to see how the infection is doing to see if it cleared, and she knows what she's looking at. She has free ''ear check'' clinics every day for her child patients for this purpose. And if she thinks it's severe enough to cause damage, she'll suggest antibiotics (she did this with my husband). Our son got through a bad infection with just homeopathic remedies and ibuprofin with her, and has had none since. I highly recommend her! Abby

Infant ear infections are common due to the size and angle of the ear tubes. As your child get older, the tubes are able to drain better and ear infections are less common. Our child had a couple of double ear infections early on, but hasn't had another for a while. You could try Mullein-Garlic ear drops. That sort of worked for us. For the diarrhea, you can alter her diet slightly to help combat that. I forget what exactly the foods were, but there are some that help. And lots of fluids of course.

Both of my kids have had numerous ear infections and I have had success with homeopothy. I usually have gotten a remedy from a homopath. Christine Ciavarella 510-524-3117 does ear checks and is a fabulous resouce- she treats tons of ear infections and because she has a medical background, will suggest when it may be time to see the physician and try antibotics. We had the same trouble with antibotics leading to diarrhea and rash and it is a vicious cycle. I now only use antibotics in the rare case where the homeopothy doesn't work. I also highly recommend the book ''Healing Childhood Ear Infections.'' YOu can get it at the health food store and is is an invaluable resouce that is not anti-medication, but talks about the whole issue in a very balanced, accessible way. hope this helps

I'm sure you'll get many responses to your posting, but I wanted to offer my perspective as a holistic doctor who has seen many children with ear infections. It is true that there is not ''one'' cause for ear infections in infants, but I have used a variety of natural approaches (diet changes, herbs, craniosacral therapy, etc) for recurrent ear infections with excellent results. Though antibiotics are sometimes needed, it is much more the exception rather than the rule, in my experience. Dairy sensitivity, as you mentioned, is commonly associated with recurrent ear infections. I am very surprised that your pediatrician did not support this, as I have found most pediatricians in this area open to looking at dietary intolerances. Also skeletal misalignment, other food allergies, or environmental sensitivities can be involved.

At this point it sounds like your daughter could use some immune system support and a bit of detective work to determine the underlying cause for her recurrent infections. There is every reason to think that you'd have good success with this type of approach. There are many different types of alternative practitioners in the area who work with children, and you'll probably get lots of recommendations on this list. Different modalities work for different people, so it is important to find someone who you feel comfortable with and go from there. Good luck to you! Tara

I'm surprised that a pediatrician you consider progressive would not put the food/ear infection connection together. I'm sure any naturopath would look there first- dairy is the big one especially since it thickens mucus. It also could be related to your birth experience. We went to an osteopath for cranial sacral therapy for my twins who were having ear problems. This was the recommendation I came across mutliple times in my own research. I highly recommend it. I know there is someone in the area who is supposed to be the best- a woman, but I don't know her name. It is archived so look up ear infections, or osteopath and you should find it. My kids have had a terrible time with antibiotics and have never gotten back on track after using them. They still have loose stools after 3 years and I have tried everything I can think of. I only consider antibiotics now as the last resort. Our naturopath also suggested hot and cold compresses. You do 2 minutes each of hot-cold-hot-cold-hot. It is supposed to bring the white blood cells to the area (hot) and then flush the infection away (cold).

Hope this helps and don't forget to give lots of probiotics (the good stuff in yogurt) to replenish the good intestinal bacteria wiped out by the medicine. Hopefully that should help with the diarrhea. Stay away from refined sugars as well as this would feed any overgrowth of yeast the the antibiotics may have caused. Best of luck been there, done that

Chronic Ear Infections in 15-month-old

Aug 2004

I am seeking advice from parents of children who have had a *severe* problem with chronic ear infections - a problem that was not alleviated by ear tubes. My 15 month old son has had ear infections almost constantly from the age of six months. We had tubes put in 3 months ago, but he has continued to get one ear infection after another, even when on preventative doses of antibiotics. One tube has already been pushed out by the infections, and the other is almost out. We are contemplating new tubes and a possible adenoidectomy. The infections seem to be brought on by colds, so I don't think an allergy is to blame. Here are some of my questions - What ultimately caused your child's ear infections to stop? Did he outgrow them? Did you eliminate something from his diet? Did you have success with homeopathy or some other alternative medicine? (I'm pretty skeptical about alternative medicine in general, but I'm getting to the point where I might consider it.) Did your child have an adenoidectomy? And for any parents who have put tubes in more than once, were they more effective the second time? Anon

Our son had chronic ear infections, also brought on by colds, from about 3 months until about 11 months. We were on the brink of tubes when a pediatrician in the practice we go to (very mainstream--East Bay Pediatrics) suggested homeopathy. Her take was this: It won't hurt, and a lot of parents have had success with it for ear infections, so why not give it a try.

Because the next step was tubes, we decided to give it a go. The doc referred us to Sally Savitz in Oakland, and we set up an appointment despite our extreme skepticism. We met with Sally for about an hour, and she asked us all kinds of questions about my pregnancy and our son, focusing on his personality, his likes and dislikes, how he behaves when he's sick, and other somewhat surprising questions. (E.g., ''Does he like balloons?'') She was very warm and kind, and quite no-nonsense. We liked her right away. Afterward, she prescribed us an herb and we gave it to him three times a week.

Long story short: He's never gotten another ear infection despite having gotten about six colds since then. It's quite possible that he happened to outgrow the ear infections at the same time, but we'll never know. I also know another mother who went though the same thing, went to Sally, and her son stayed infection-free thereafter.

Caveats: Your insurance won't pay for it, so you'll spend a couple hundred dollars up front. But in my mind, both for the regained nights of sleep and the freedom from antibiotics, well worth it. Like I said, I'm not a ''believer,'' but I really think it's worth keeping your mind open to alternative solutions--especially when they can only help, not hurt. Lindsey

I brought my daughter to Brian Barlay for accupuncture with a lot of ear infections. When I suspected she had an ear infection, I would take her to the pediatrician first. If she recommended antibiotics, that is what I would do. But often, she would diagnose the ear infection, and give me a prescription to take if it got worse. Either way, I would bring her to Brian for a treatment once I got the diagnosis. Most of the time, she got instant relief, which I deduced from the fact that she always, always slept beautifully after the treatment. It was usually bad sleep that brought me into the pediatrician in the first place. (Once the symptoms were gone, I didn't bring her back to the pediatrician to verify the efficacy of the treatment. I only brought he! r back if the symptoms continued or got worse.) We had enough experience with her, that I am convinced that Brian\x92s treatments were a significant factor in clearing up her ear infections and avoiding antibiotics. My family really suffered from ear infections; I had nieces and nephews with shunts, and on prophylactic antibiotics for ear infections. I feel that perhaps one reasons we got off easy was because of Brian. Brian Barlay is at the Temescal Acupuncture Center, 330 41st Street, Oakland, 510-654-7040 Sarah

Hi there, I'm so sorry that you're all having to go through that. I know how hard it is. I suffered from chronic ear infections too when I was a child. Does your child drink a lot of milk or eat dairy products? If so, try taking them off. It may help. Sylvie

Hi, I remember how awful that is! My son had frequent ear infections especially with colds. Eventually he developed an infection that lasted for six months straight, fading with different courses of antibiotics but always flaring up again immediately. In desperation, we were about to have ear tubes put in, when my chiropractor gave me a book called (I think) ''Healing Childhood Ear Infections''. I did not expect any results but was willing to try anything; this book recommended a combination of ear drops, homeopathy, a massage method called ''lymphatic flush'', and removal of all dairy from the diet for at least five days from onset of symptoms. My skepticism was overset the very first time we tried i! t, when he slept through the night for the first time in his life. Whenever he first developed symptoms after that we immediately began this treatment, and had no further problems. I should say that I don't think my son has an allergy to dairy, other than that dairy seems to exacerbate problems brought on by a cold. I can't encourage you enough to try this combination of methods. I never knew whether all four treatments were necessary, but didn't care enough to experiment! Michelle

Chronic fluid in the ears - 16-month-old

July 2004

My 16 month old son has had fluid in his ears for the past six months, and I am at a loss for how to help him. His first ear infection was at 10 month; he ran a fever for about five days and was in so much pain that I couldn't put him down, even at night. On the fifth day I realized he was not getting better, and put him on antibiotics. I had read how antibiotics don't work for ear infections, and the problems that arise with overuse, but within hours the pain lessened and the fever broke. About 3 weeks later he was sick again with an ear infection. This time I ran to the doctor as soon as I could, hoping that if he took antibiotics right away we could avoid a week of misery. Just the opposite! They didn't seem to help at all, and he continued to get worse for days before he got better. When his ears became infected again three weeks later, I decided to try something else rather that get caught in that cycle of recurring infections and drugs. We took him to an osteopath, gave him herbs and massaged behind his ears, and this time he did not have a fever, and after a week seemed better. However, fluid has remained in his ears. Even when I thought he was better, upon inspection both ears still have fluid and the eardrum appears slightly red. It has been this way for months now, even though he is otherwise very healthy; no runny nose, no colds for the past few months. His ears seem to bother him most when there is a change of weather, or a change of altitude (we live on a mountain, and he always holds his ear when we drive down into town), when he's teething, and when we meet strangers and he's uncomfortable and shy, he always holds his ear. The rest of the time he's as happy as can be. He comprehends most of what I say to him, and talks back, but says very few distinct words (although I swear I've heard complete sentences such as ''I want that'' and I want to go downstairs''). I don't think his hearing is affected, but I can't really know for sure. I visited the osteopath several times, and then she felt since he wasn't improving we should try something else. I went to an MD/ homeopath and tried a number of remedies, none of which has had any effect. I've eliminated wheat and dairy from our diets, which has helped him in other ways, but still the fluid in his ears. I've tried Chinese herbs prescribed by my acupuncturist; no change. Last week we saw his pediatrician, who strongly recommends that we give him antibiotics. He said it's likely that my son has suffered hearing loss and speech developmental problems, and that if antibiotics don't work we may have to put tubes in his ears. The other MD/ homeopath strongly cautions against antibiotics, saying that he doesn't think there's an infection as my son doesn't have a fever and is healthy in every other way. He says giving antibiotics will only make my son more susceptible to bacteria, and can cause the fluid to thicken and become much harder for the body to absorb. I don't know what to think anymore. Has anybody experienced this? Has anyone's child lived with fluid in their ear for extended periods of time with no consequences, or was there hearing loss? Is it possible that he might have an infection even with no other signs? What might help? I would really appreciate some advice.... anon

From your post, I sense a reluctance to use Western medicine, but I really think you ought to take your child to an ENT specialist. My son had a similar history of ear infections and fluid on the ear. His language development was better than normal, but when I took him to an audiologist, he had significant hearing loss. The ENT specialist recommended tubes in his ears, which we had done. The morning after the surgery, he was sitting at the breakfast table when the refrigerator motor came on. My son's head whipped around and he said ''Mommy, what's that noise?'' He had never heard it before. He is now 3, and I have never for one minute regretted the surgery for the tubes. It was the right thing to do. Karen

Our ! son had a year (or more) of uninfected fluid in his ears starting when he was almost 5 yrs old. He never had any other symptoms than a very green snotty nose. The ear fluid was never considered an ''ear infection'' however.We tried endless rounds of antibiotics and even 6 (more?) weeks of gum chewing. We couldn't get an accurate hearing test becuase of the fluid (his hearing is normal) The best and only solution we found was tubes. Dr. Wesman at CHO did a great job and he's literaly never had fluid since (3 yrs later) and barely even a headcold. He also had his adenoids taken out at the same time. P.S. He had also been tested extensively for allergies but it was all negative. P.S.S. ''tubes'' are about teh size of a grain of rice. broccoli

Our 4.5 yo twins have had similar problems. We got caught up in the ove! ruse of antibiotics and I wish I had known better. It all started for us when they started preschool mainly and they started getting a lot of colds. They ended up on lots of antibiotics and then had terrible yeast problems as a result. They had chronic fluid in their ears even though it didn't seem to bother them. They always say their ears don't hurt and don't seem to have any noticeable hearing problems. Our pediatrician refered us to a ENT who tried to put them on a 30 day! cycle of amoxicillan which I made her reduce to 7 days. She also stared talking about ear tubes. By then we were pretty fed up w/ alopathic doctors and, like you, saw a osteopath and are currently seeing a homeopathic doctor. There is also a book I read by an alopathic (conventional) doctor who totally refutes antibiotic use for ear infections as well as tubes and many other common practices today. It is called '! 'How to Raise a Healthy Child...In Spite of Your Doctor'' by Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD. That book helped me calm down about the whole issue and not get worried ESPECIALLY since they seemed fine otherwise. He mentions that it is common for some children to have fluid in their ears for an entire winter season and then it clears during the warmer months when kids don't get as many colds. For some reason ears has become the hot topic with doctors these days and it's all about antibiotics and hearing loss and tubes- and causing panic in parents. These things didn't exist not too long ago and there isn't a whole generation of deaf people so obviously our bodies can deal with the issue okay on it's own. There was one treatment that our homeopath recommended that seemed to help the few times that my kids actually did have fevers and pain. You take a bowl of cold water and a bowl of hot water.! p; Apply a hot compress to each ear and the surrounding area for 2 minutes, then cold, then hot, then cold, and finish with hot. This is supposed to help flush the infection from the area. It is a lot easier to do on my 4 year olds than it would be on my 19 mo though so I don't know if your child would sit through this for you. It sound like you have tried all possible avenues. Don't let your pediatrician put you in a panic unnecessarily. As long as your son seems happy go with your instinct. On our last pediatrician visit our doctor said that one of my son's ears looked great and the other (who was really sick with a cold) did have one red ear, but the other one looked great. A major imrpovement for us so don't give up hope. Courtney

We had the same issue to some extent with our son! . He had repeated fluid in his ears and ear infections since he was four months old unti recently. He will soon be two. We changed his diet drastically and so far so good. He has many food alergies, none of which show up on traditional allergy tests. When you eliminated dairy did you elimnage all dairy and casein? IF that doesn't work try eggs. See if that helps. If not there is probably a food you don't know about that he is reacting to. Read Ellen Cutler's book, The Food Allergy Cure. Abbie Abbie

My son had chronic fluid in his ears with only one ear infection, which was treated successfully with antibiotics. He had tubes put in and the doctor said he'd never seen such thick goop in a middle ear before. I'm pretty sure his hearing was somewhat affected by the fluid, and that it was pretty uncomfortable. I'm really glad he had the tubes put in. Feel free to email me if you want any more information about our experience. Jessica

You don't mention whether you would consider tubes, but it sounds like you have done your best to exhaust all other more natural, less invasive options. We were very reluctant to resort to tubes, but after homeopathy failed, and our son was on antibiotics more times that we felt comfortable with (with no improvement), we decided that it was time to consider the tubes. We went to Dr. Robert Wesman, who has a conservative approach and did not immediately recommend the tubes. He wanted to see our son again (I can't remember how much later, maybe weeks, maybe months), and at the point where we went for the follow-up visit and th! ere still had been no improvement, he recommended the tubes. Our son was about 23 months at the time, and we were very nervous and concerned, but it was so quick and easy and we never had another problem! The tubes stayed in for almost a year, during which time he never had an ear infection, and since then he has been fine. He has had one or two ear infections in the past year (he is now 4), but because he is older, bigger and stronger, he handles them well and responds quickly to antibiotics. I have spoken to many friends, family and acquaintances, and have yet to find anyone who did not have a positive experience with tubes. I only regret that we didn't do it sooner, because it could have saved our son a lot of unnecessary pain. Good luck! Tracy

My son also had chronic fuild in his ears. By the time he was two we realized that he was severly speech delayed. We got his hearing checked and it was determined that the fulid had built up so much, he could only hear like he was under water. He had tubes put in this ears, which helped and then a year later his adnoids and toncilles were removed to help open up the entire area.

He is now 4.5 and has gone to speech thearpy every week for 2.5years. He is still very speech delayed and it seems to get harder as he gets older- not easier. As kids at that age are so verbal and people still cannot understand him, it has made him very shy. I would get an appoinment with an ears, nose and throught docter asap! GOOD LUCK!

Teaching parents to identify an ear infection?

March 2000

Is there a class/resource somewhere that teaches parents how to look into their kids' ears to check for ear infections? My 3-yr-old son does not exhibit the usual symptoms (pain, tugging at the ear, fever) so it is quite difficult for me to figure out that he might have an infection. (With my daughter, on the other hand, it's a no-brainer. She's always had the ear ache + classic tugging.) Marta

Dr. Berberich in Berkeley (ph. 849-1744), a couple of years ago, was doing a research study evaluating parents' ability to use an inexpensive (under $25) otoscope to check children's suspected ear infections. This included a one or two hour training session for the parents, and a request that prior to having your child's physician check your child's ears, you check them too and record your independent judgments, so they could collect data on the success of the training. I found the training interesting. I have not seen any advertisements for this training but perhaps you might check with his office. By the way, I have found that the best way to find out that my 3 year old daughter has an ear infection is that she yells when I try to insert the otoscope! My friend, a nurse practitioner, feels that it takes much more experience and a higher quality of otoscope for a parent to develop the skill. I disagree and think it's learnable, especially if you also trust your instincts in the middle of the night, give some pain reliever and phone the doctor the next morning. Good luck. Diane

Alternatives to Surgery

Jan 1999

I would really appreciate any advice or information on ways of preventing and treating ear infections in infants OTHER than tubes. My son is 10 mo old, and is working on his 4th or 5th ear infection. I have seen suggestions on this list before for preventative measures for older kids--anyone know of any for younger kids? As soon as he got one or two infections, it seems, the pediatrician started talking about tubes, and my husband is a big proponent of giving a pill or a procedure for every ailment. I am not against medicine, I just don't think he needs tylenol every time he cries. I am willing to do the surgery if that is the only or best cure, but am reluctant to just automatically put the baby through surgery without trying or even considering anything else. But, I am really getting pushed to just do a quick fix and put tubes in. Can anyone give me alternatives to try, or things to do with an infant that will have the same effect as balloon blowing does for older kids? Also, are there reasons to wait to have the surgery when he's older? Any advice much appreciated. Ann

I recommend reading How to Raise a Healthy Child : In Spite of Your Doctor by Robert S. Mendelsohn. It calmly and clearly describes how many of the treatments that doctors recommend are not based on scientific evidence and are extremely faddish: highly prevalent at one clinic and never used at another. Treating ear infections with tubes is his definitive example of unneeded surgery and a fad. For another perspective, check out http://www.drgreene.com/960401.html who is more optimistic about the surgery but at least mentions the 4 agreed upon indications for tubes. All that said, I would definitely get a second opinion. At 10 months we had a difficult time getting our daughter to take the antibiotics. She didn't like the syringe and wouldn't drink it from a spoon. In a baby catalog, we found a pacifier that could be filled with medicine. On the few occasions we have tried that pacifier it was worked out very well. I have found How to raise a healthy child.... a great source of information and very credible. Even when we've not followed his advice, we've made a much more informed decision. It helped inform us of the dangers of vaccinations and the minority opinion/controversy that vaccinations are useless. This has allowed us to much more confidently agree to some vaccinations, and say no to others in a way we would not have before. I wish there were an update to this book (published in the 80s I think) but I do not believe that will be possible, at least not by Dr. Mendelsohn. Jerry

regarding ear infections in infants. I have several friends who had the same problem. They both tried homoeopathy and it worked for both of them. They both swear by it. Hilary

Perhaps you'll find my experience helpful.... My one-year-old has had several ear infections starting at 2-months and is just recovering from the most recent. This last time, I raised the question of tubes with the pediatrician. She told me to wait another couple of months since he's just now reached the age (and season) that the infections usually subside. I plan to wean him from a bottle asap - he does seem eager to use a cup and I hope that this will also help. This last infection was a doozie and we resorted to two injections of antibiotics to take care of it (hopefully) once and for all. The injections were VERY effective!Good luck. Regan

You did not mention whether you are breast feeding or your 10 month old is taking cow's milk. Dairy products such as cow's milk are well-known to cause ear infections and colds in children. A health book which discusses this convincing and with common sense is Fit for Life by the Diamonds (a husband and wife team). According to the Diamonds, a child with an extended history of ear infections will either cease to have them or will develop infections much less frequently once dairy products are eliminated from the diet. Of course, you can prevent many ear infections by never starting on cow's milk at all. We as humans and particularly as children do not need cow's milk for calcium, protein, fat, or anything else). Of course, a diet which includes calcium is important, but this is possible without cow's milk. Good luck, and trust your instinct. It is right on. Peggy

Try garlic and mullein oil drops, acupressure, homeopathy and take him off of dairy definitely. There's a pretty objective book out there all about ear infections. Sorry we moved recently and I don't know where it is or what the title was but you can buy it at Vitamin Express. It may help you to resist all the pressure and get you're husband on your side. We never got to the point of talking about tubes but we had three months straight with five different rounds of antibiotics. I finally took our daughter to an acupuncturist and tried the other treatments as well. It was gone in 10 days. When she got another infection shortly thereafter, I got a diagnosis, chucked the prescription, did my thing and it was gone in ten days again. Go with your gut.

Just wanted to respond to your baby who's been getting a lot of ear infections. We had a similar problem - between six months and a year, our daughter had seven ear infections. It was non-stop amoxycillin and then on to the stronger meds. Finally, at around 11 months, our Kaiser pediatrician said it was time to visit the ENT. She checked out my daughter's ears thoroughly and said there was absolutely nothing wrong with them and we should definitely not consider tubes at that time. We made the decision, with our pediatrician, not to treat her ear infections with antibiotics anymore (she never had many symptoms - no fever, not much crying or obvious pain). Her last ear infection (knock on wood) was on her first birthday - she's now 2-1/2. My advice is to wait a bit longer, unless your baby seems to be in lots of pain. As kids grow, the shape of their ear tubes change and many stop getting frequent ear infections around 18 months. Especially since you're coming up on springtime and your child will be outdoors and less likely to get so many colds. We have a close friend who's daughter had tubes put in and has had mixed results. She still gets frequent ear infections but they don't seem as painful. They've also had problems with them falling out and then having to decide if they want to do the surgery again to reinsert them. Best of luck. Claudia