If you have small children, they've likely experienced the dreaded ear infection. Caused by a viral or bacteria infection affecting the middle ear, these infections are short-lived but can be incredibly painful. While adults can contract ear infections, the disease most commonly affects young children as their inner ear tubes are shorter and narrower. An estimated two-thirds of children contract this infection every year, making it one of the most frequent illnesses affecting young kids.
A brief overview of ear infection risk factors, symptoms and treatment options
Healthline explained that babies who are bottle-fed have a higher risk for ear infections in comparison to breast-fed infants. Exposure to cigarette smoke and altitude or climate change increase people's risk as well. The common symptoms associated with an ear infection are the feeling of pressure within the ear, drainage, mild pain or even hearing loss. Young children are not able articulate what they are feeling, which leads to increased levels of fussiness in infants or toddlers.
"These infections are short-lived but can be incredibly painful."
Most cases of ear infections clear up on their own, therefore physicians sometimes help their patients manage their pain. Some of these methods may include putting a warm cloth to the ear, using prescription eye drops or taking over-the-counter pain relief medication. Yet, for severe cases where the eardrum may be bulging, collapsed or experiencing significant fluid build-up, doctors may prescribe certain antibiotics.
Probiotics and ear infections in young children
In addition to these treatment options, some people seek out alternative therapies to ease their discomfort or fight off the infection. Many parents of affected children who do not prefer antibiotic or medicinal pain relief methods have turned to probiotics as natural way to boost their immune system to fight off their infection. These strains of good bacteria are generally considered safe and do not cause adverse side effects. Instead of stripping away all bacteria with antibiotics, probiotics focus on building up the good bacteria in the body.
The daily consumption of probiotics is one of the key elements of following the GAPS Diet. For small children suffering from an ear infection, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride generally recommends parents sprinkling the contents of a probiotic supplement capsule on their children's tongue after meals and before they go to bed. Additionally, she states that mixing one capsule of probiotics with one tablespoon of olive oil makes an all natural ear drop that parents should use every hour.
For additional information about the GAPS Diet and how to get started, you can consult with a Certified GAPS Practitioner and visit our website today!