by Gina Nick, NMD, PhD
A new research review reported in the November 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA. 2010;304:2161-2169) revealed that there is little consensus among doctors on how to diagnose and treat ear infections in children.
Acute Otitis Media (a highly prevalent type of ear infection) is the most common condition for which antibiotics are prescribed for US children. However, there is NO data available on the long term effects of antibiotic therapy in children! Further, there is a popular vaccine used, called PCV7, and the research shows that while it somewhat reduces the prevalence of one type of bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae,it INCREASES the prevalence of a major Flu virus, Haemophilus influenzae.
Two of the most common causes of childhood ear infections that we diagnose and treat at our medical practice are food allergies and low levels of nutrients that are essential for healthy immune function. A blood test done and interpreted correctly will reveal immediate and delayed food allergies and nutrient deficiencies related to immune function. If you or your child have a history of long term antibiotic use, it also becomes critical to supplement with a high quality probiotic, at one to two capsules per day.
In conversation with a wise woman in the desert last week, we contemplated the value of common sense in the practice of medicine. It makes sense that diet and nutrition play an important role in how well a child’s immune system will function. If you start there, the need for antibiotic therapy diminishes.