If you're raising young kids, then ear infections are inevitable. In fact, they account for nearly 30 million doctor visits a year in the United States, and Americans spend $2 billion treating ear infections every single year. Besides routine wellness visits, ear infections are actually the second most common reason parents take their kids to the pediatrician. And while these infections not be a reason to see an ear nose and throat surgeon, at least not without serious and recurring complications, visiting an ENT doctor is a common solution.
They can help you find the exact reasons behind the infection, and what can be done to prevent another issue like this in the future. In most cases, they'll also prescribe antibiotics to help fight the infection. It's also important to remember that ear infections are extremely common in young children -- so don't panic!
However, parents who are tired of dealing with ear infections may be looking for other alternatives. While visiting an ENT doctor or your pediatrician is always a good idea, and should be considered mandatory with very young children, that hasn't stopped some parents from researching natural ways to prevent and treat ear infections. Even though some parents have embraced alternatives to antibiotics, if an ear infection doesn't go away or gets worse, don't hesitate to contact an ear nose and throat specialist.
So, what are these so-called "natural" ear infection treatments?
Wait it out
The truth is that about four out of five ear infections can be waited out. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 80% of kids with ear infections simply heal on their own, though it is not recommended with very young children. Ear infections hurt, and the pain will cause them to cry and scream, which makes waiting it out a painful option for children and parents. Plus, waiting it out naturally will take longer than taking medications.
When it comes to your children's health, it's best to err on the side of caution. In extreme cases, untreated ear infections can end with a visit to an ear nose and throat surgeon.
Move To Better Environments
Things like mold, cigarette smoke, and other air toxins and contaminants can lead to fluid build up in the ear canal, the cause of many an ear infection. You should move your child away from these things and help them soothe their aches by keeping their heads elevated whenever possible to drain the fluids.
Foods that are high in vitamins and healthy fats can help fight infections faster, as well as getting plenty of water. Yogurt and other probiotic foods are a good example of this, and they have a lot of healthy bacteria that can promote a good recovery. Of course, super foods are not replacement for antibiotics.
Ultimately, for parents looking for natural ear infection treatments, the options are limited. So while there are other options besides seeing an ENT to fight an ear infection in your child, they will not be as effective as taking antibiotics. If your child has an ear infection, it is recommended that you see a trained medical professional to deal with it.