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Ear Infection

Children between the six months and three years of age are susceptible to many ear infections; these types of infections are quite common with children in this particular age group.

The physical construction of the human ear is quite complex internally and the ear taken as a whole consist of three parts named the outer, the middle and the inner ear respectively. The auricle or the flap of curved skin and cartilage on the outside is the outer ear; this is the external and visible part of the ear. The peculiar shape of the external ear serves to convey and amplify vibrations from the external world to the eardrum and into the middle ear; it thus acts as an external canal for the conveyance of sound and other vibrations to the internal ear. These vibrations conveyed from the exterior are passed through the three main structures forming the middle ear; the three essential structures of the middle ear are formed from three small bones-the stapes, the malleus and the incus. These bones convey vibrations into the inner ear, where the vibrations are picked up by auditory nerves in the nerve endings of the inner ear for translation in the brain-this is what makes hearing possible. An additional function of the inner ear is in the maintenance of balance and coordination.

There exist other connections in the anatomy of the ear, a tube called the Eustachian tube or opening connects the middle ear to the nasal cavity and the throat by means of a passageway from the inner ear into the posterior region of the oral cavity. The function of this tube is to enable the drainage of excess amounts of secretions from the middle ear into the nose and throat for elimination; this also releases the pressure that can build up in the inner ear because of the presence of these secretions. The secretions can accumulate and cause a great deal of pressure to build up in the inner ear if the Eustachian tube is performing its role of drainage properly for any reason; the result is that the pressure in the ear rises to an extreme level and the ear becomes painful-this can lead to blockage and eventual infection because of bacterial action.

Compared to older children the Eustachian opening in very young children and infants is oriented in a more or less horizontal plane rather than in the mature vertical plane, this makes drainage of the inner ear difficult. This is one reason that infants are very susceptible to infections of the inner ears. Blockage often results because of accumulated fluids in the inner ear, bacteria find this an ideal environment for multiplication and their actions cause the subsequent infection.

As children mature and the internal placement of the Eustachian tube changes, the ear infections become rarer in occurrence and the susceptibility of a child to ear infections reduces as he or she gets older because of these changes in the anatomy. The Eustachian tube begins to curve downwards and changes from its horizontal position to assume a more vertical orientation as a child grows; this allows excess fluids to drain away easily and reduces the chances of a pressure build up in the internal ear. Infections are thus precluded with the maturation of the inner ear and the repositioning of the Eustachian tube that this entails in the body. A fully mature individual tends to have a Eustachian tube that has a pronounced downward angle or slope into the oral orifice.

The presence of a common cold or another upper respiratory infection, including an infection of the adenoids, the tonsils, or sinuses can often result in complications that lead to an ear infection as all these areas are connected. The infections as such can come along with other physical symptoms such as a runny nose and coughing, and a sore throat is also often present in such cases; occasionally vomiting and diarrhea may also accompany the infection. The presence of fever depends on the type of infection and its severity.

It is easy to find out if a child has an ear infection, toddlers will typically tug at the painful ear, they may cry and fuss about by rubbing or hitting their ears, a child who has learnt to talk will of course tell you that their ear hurts. Ear infections in infants can usually be found out because the infant may suddenly become irritable or could suddenly come down with a fever-these signs can tell you if the infant is suffering from infection in the ear.

A sensation of pressure and fullness in the ear is another symptom that can be quite common but may be difficult for children to explain to you-this can complicate things because no obvious signs of infection exist in the ear even on close examination. The sensation can be very irritating to the child and it is caused by the accumulation of excess fluid in the inner ear, this fluid keeps pushing against the eardrum causing a build up of pressure. Some temporary hearing loss in the affected ear is common and the child may complain of this loss. The loss is temporary in the large majority if cases, where permanent hearing loss is concerned, the causes are different. It is good to take precautions and be prepared to treat all ear infections as emergencies as prolonged incidences of ear infections and consequent hearing loss will lead to long-term problems in the ears and may affect hearing.

Call the doctor again for consultation and if needed for medical examination of the infant if the child does not recover from an ear infection twenty four hours following an initial treatment. If the ear infection does not respond immediately to treatment or if the treatment methodology followed is wrong, there are risks of a permanent hearing loss to the child. To preclude such possibilities go in for thorough medical checks and if necessary, try another treatment method.

Supplements and herbs

See age-appropriate dosages of herbal remedies

All types of bacterial infections can be cleared away by the use of an herbal combination formula containing the Echinacea and goldenseal herbs. The antiviral properties of Echinacea and the bactericidal properties of goldenseal pack an effective punch against infections of all types; goldenseal in addition soothes the irritated mucous membranes brought about by the infection. The immune system is bolstered by both the herbs and this aids in the rapid elimination of the infection. The preferred form of consumption of this herbal formula is in the form of a liquid extract. While the infection is acute, children can be given a single dose once every two hours during the treatment regimen. Once the symptoms subside a little, the dosage can be reduced to s single dose of the combination formula taken thrice a day, during a treatment period of one week.
For you attention: Echinacea should not be given to children on a regular basis for more than two weeks at one time as it tends to lose its effectiveness and healing property.

Infections in the ear can also be alleviated by the use of garlic which is an antibacterial agent. Children may object to the strong odor of garlic and it is best to use an odorless form of garlic as the capsule form of the garlic is preferred by many children. The capsules can be dissolved in soup or in hot water or it can be swallowed whole on a daily basis by the child. The product label will have the age specific instructions on how to use the capsules-follow the directions to the letter. Some other options of using garlic exist. One of these is to use it as topical remedy by heating a fresh clove of garlic clove in some olive oil, put one or two drops of warm oil into the infected ear as a direct ointment, the oil should not be too hot or too cold when it is dripped into the infected ear. To treat inflammation and swelling in the body Native American tribes have made traditional use of the oil of the mullein herb. The warm oil of the mullein can also be used as a direct topical ointment that can be dripped into the infected ear of the child. While the mullein acts on the infection, the warmed oil is also a soothing balm on the irritated tissues inside the ear-as mentioned previously with regard to the use of the garlic oil, make sure the mullein oil is not too hot.

Homeopathy

The homeopathic remedies given here are for use during the appearance of acute symptoms, dosage can be carried out on an hourly basis and more often if necessary. For one to three weeks a daily intake of about one to three doses is sufficient for the treatment of chronic cases. This type of a dosage regimen can prevent recurrences from occurring and aid in the treatment of new symptoms.

  • Belladonna
    Belladonna is to be used during the homeopathic treatment of children with an ear infection in which the physical symptoms can include the presence of a persistent and throbbing pain in the affected ear. The other physical symptoms can include the appearance of tearing pains that shoot down from the region of the face, and radiate out into the chin, the teeth and the regions of the neck. The face and the ears are hot and flushed. Some other physical symptoms that are apparent in such children are the drying out of the lips and the mouth, the presence of glassy looking eyes and the dilation of the pupils. Psychological symptoms felt by the child can include hearing noises and physical symptoms include ringing in the ears, the child may hear his or her own voice repeatedly in her mind. The child may also suffer from a persistent and throbbing headache. Other commonly observed conditions are delirium and a high fever. Psychological symptoms can include being frightened or behavior enraged behavior towards others. The child may also experience a lot of nightmares when he or she is asleep and will often wake up screaming from bed. The condition of the affected child can appreciably worsen at nighttime, and on exposing the child to jarring movements or loud noises, the child is also very sensitive to touching, to bright light, and the symptoms usually affect the right side of the body more than the left. The condition of the child can appreciably improve on providing some warmth to the child. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Belladonna as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment children suffering from infections of the ear.
  • Calc carb.
    Calc carb. is to be used during the homeopathic treatment of children affected with an infection in the ear, in which symptoms present can include throbbing and burning sensations in the ear, these stitching sensations radiate into the region of the throat of the child. Some of the physical symptoms such as the body aches can be aggravated by actions such as blowing of the nose and coughing. The child feels that the ears are blocked up. The child also suffers from the production of a foul smelling, pus rich discharge from the infected ear. Psychological symptoms can also include the child hearing various noises such as cracking noises, which can be aggravated by swallowing and chewing food or other substances. The child can also suffer some temporary loss of hearing in the infected ear. The glands of the child are enlarged or swollen all over the body. The child is excessively sensitive to the cold and to changes in the weather. Other symptoms can include profuse perspiration around the head. The child may have a craving for eggs. Such children tend to be soft and flabby; they also tend to be very insecure. The condition of the child can appreciably worsen on being exposed to cold and damp weather, and to teething problems in the early morning hours. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the use of Calc carb. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the ear infection affecting the child.
  • Chamomilla
    Chamomilla is to be used during the homeopathic treatment of children with very acute ear infections that comes along with stitching pain in the affected ear. Physical symptoms tend to include the presence of a hot sensation in the ears, the ear or one side of the cheek may also redden to a great extent while the other side is often pale in color. Other symptoms can include the presence of an earache along with teething problems. The child also suffers from the production of a lot of sticky sweat, the child is often very thirsty and complains of being hot at most times of the day and night. The child may have additional complications like frequent attacks of colic. The child can become very irritable and suffers from crankiness and often throws tantrums. The child does not enjoy being touched in any way, and psychological complications can include discomfort even when he or she is merely looked at by somebody. The child can become very changeable emotionally and may demand things, and will often reject them when these are offered. The child will also demand to be carried or rocked. The child may have spasms and spasmodic reactions in the body. The condition of the child can appreciably worsen during the night and the child will often wake up screaming on hearing even the least bit of noise, the child is also uncomfortable in the cold, and does not enjoy lying down, or being exposed to the wind. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Chamomilla as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the ear infection afflicting the child.
  • Mercurius
    Mercurius is to be used during the homeopathic treatment of children afflicted with an ear infection which results in the production of a green and acrid or bloody pus from the ears, these substances has a foul odor, a physical symptom often observed in such children is that the ear drum tends to be ruptured or punctured in some way. In addition the ear of the child will feel blocked or stopped up and there could be a ringing sensation present within it. The child is often given to a lot of drooling during the night. The child tends to have a metallic taste in his or her mouth. The child also tends to suffer from recurrent infections in the throat and the tonsils. Another typical physical symptom seen in such children is that they tend to have swollen glands. The child may also have a foul smelling breath and the perspiration tends to have a foul odor to it. The child also suffers from ulcers in the oral cavity and from mouth sores. The tongue of the child tends to be flabby and is often enlarged to a great extent. The psychological profile of such children shows them to be of the impulsive and suspicious type. Such children are very sensitive to criticism from others around them. The condition of the child can worsen in the hours of the night, the symptoms are also aggravated in intense heat or cold, on being exposed to damp weather or to cold drafts, and symptoms can be aggravated by the consumption of warm drinks, an overcast sky and other weather conditions can also aggravate the symptoms to some degree. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the use of Mercurius as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the ear infection.
  • Pulsatilla
    Pulsatilla is to be used during the homeopathic treatment of children with an ear infection in which the physical symptoms can include swollen and reddened ears, which can become very hot to the touch-in addition severe stitching pains and roaring type of sounds are felt and heard in the affected ear respectively. Other physical symptoms that can appear during the infection can include the presence of an intense itching sensation. There is often a yellow colored and very thick discharge from the ear. Temporary deafness is often a result of the infection, the child may also experience a stopped up feeling in the ear, and the internal pressure may be felt in the outward direction. This form of infection of the ear can occur particularly following conditions like colds and measles which are common infections during childhood. The child is also given to the production of abundant quantities of yellow mucus from the infected ear. The child has very dry lips and does not feel thirsty at most times. The psychological profile of such children suggests that they are gentle and timid in behavior. Once the condition sets in, the child may demand a lot of sympathy and attention from his or her parents. Such children also tend to be given over to fits of weeping and often tend to whine pitifully when the pain is too much. The condition of the child can worsen when the child is placed in a warm room even when the child says he or she feels cold, the condition of such children can also worsen towards the evening and during the night, and in particular when such children are resting. The condition of such children tends to improve when they are exposed to the open air out of doors. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the use of Pulsatilla as a homeopathic remedy for use during the treatment of the child afflicted with an ear infection.
  • Silicea
    Silicea is to be used during the homeopathic treatment of children with an infection of the ear where the physical symptoms can include the production of offensive pus from the ears; this condition is called "gum ear” and occurs in chronic cases of infection. Physical symptoms also include the presence of shooting pains in the ear. There is a lot of itching and tingling sensations in the ear, which is intensified when the person swallows. The ear of the child can often feel blocked and stopped up and the ear can frequently pop audibly to the child. Another symptom is the presence of a roaring sound or sounds within the affected ear. The child becomes very sensitive to loud and intense noises and is at the same time hard put to hear the voices of other people. The head of the child is given to profuse and abundant sweating. Such children tend to be very timid and fearful in their personalities; they often lack self confidence and are easily disturbed. The child can do an about turn on this profile and become stubborn, rigid and defiant in the face of adversity. Children suffering any of these symptoms tend to become physically and mentally very easily exhausted and weaken very rapidly. The condition of the child can appreciably worsen in cold and damp weather. The condition of the child often improves when he or she is wrapped in warm clothing or blankets. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Silicea as a homeopathic remedy for the treatment of the ear infection in the afflicted child.

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Comments

From Susan Gittens - Mar-04-2011
An ear infection in a baby or child that gets worse over a period of days may lead not only to hearing loss but also to meningitis and possibly death.
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