Ear Infection treatment and natural therapy, home remedy, diet and food
September 4 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


An ear infection is one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the physician. While there are different types of ear infections, the most common is called otitis media, which means an inflammation and infection of the middle ear. An ear infection is most likely to occur in the winter season. An ear infection is not itself contagious, but a cold may spread among children and cause some of them to get ear infections. The most likely treatment when a child is taken to a doctor's office for an ear infection is to be given antibiotics. Many doctors treat these ear infections with oral antibiotics such as amoxicillin. Middle ear infections are the most common diagnosis for which children receive antibiotics, and insertion of ear tubes is the most common surgery performed on children. Rushing to place ear tubes in children with persistent fluid behind the ear drum does not improve their development compared with kids who are monitored for several months to see if the problem resolves on its own.


Diet and ear infection
I am not certain yet, but I suspect eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, fresh vegetable juices, along with fish, while reducing sugar, trans fats and dairy foods, may reduce the risk for ear infections. See suggestions regarding a healthy diet. I also recommend reading this article on how to improve the immune system.


Acute ear Infection
The term "acute" refers to a short and painful episode. Contrary to popular opinion, getting water in the ears will not cause an acute ear infection, unless the eardrum has a hole from a previous episode.


Pain relief for acute ear infection
Eardrops containing the analgesic lidocaine provides speedy pain relief due to acute otitis media. In addition to simple oral analgesics ... local anesthetic eardrops help to rapidly relieve the pain of middle ear infections in children. Middle ear infections are a common childhood complaint and most cases resolve without the need for antibiotics,

Chronic ear Infection

An ear infection that lasts a long time or comes and goes is called chronic otitis media.

Cause of ear Infection
An ear infection is common in infants and children in part because their eustachian tubes become clogged easily. For each ear, a eustachian tube runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat. Its purpose is to drain fluid and bacteria that normally occurs in the middle ear. If the eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid can build up and become infected. Anything that causes the eustachian tubes and upper airways to become inflamed or irritated, or cause more fluids to be produced, can lead to a blocked eustachian tube. These include:

Colds and sinus infections
Tobacco smoke or other irritants
Infected or overgrown adenoids
Excess mucus and saliva produced during teething

An ear infection is more likely if a child spends a lot of time drinking from a sippy cup or bottle while lying on his or her back.


Middle ear infections are common in many children. This may be because their eustachian tubes are shorter and narrower than those of their elders. Common risk factors for child ear infections: Frequent exposure to secondhand smoke. Having had allergies, frequent colds, prior ear infections, or a family history of ear infections. Attending day care. Being born prematurely or at a low birth weight. Sleeping with a bottle or using a pacifier. Being male -- boys are more likely to get ear infections than girls.


Symptom of ear infection
Symptoms in children vary, based on the type of infection and age of the child. Some of the following are common symptoms of ear infections: Pain or discomfort in the ear, indicated by touching or pulling at the ear in a younger child. Pain while lying down, chewing or sucking, which may lead to reduced appetite or difficulty sleeping.
Fluid draining from the ear. Difficulty hearing. Fever, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting.


Medical management for acute otitis media
Treatment should include pain management, and initial antibiotic treatment should be given to those most likely to benefit, including young children, children with severe symptoms, and those with otorrhea and/or bilateral AOM. Tympanostomy tube placement may be helpful for those who experience frequent episodes of AOM or fail medical therapy.


Tubes for ear infections
In young children with persistent middle-ear effusion, placement of tympanostomy tubes without delay does not improve developmental outcomes at 9 to 11 years of age. With time, such effusions usually resolve on their own. In the last 40 years, research has linked persistent effusions with conductive hearing loss, and as a result, to impaired development. As such, treatment guidelines have recommended prompt tympanostomy tube insertion as a method of improving developmental outcomes. However, this may not be a good idea. Dr. Jack L. Paradise, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues showed that prompt tympanostomy tube insertion in children younger than 3 years of age did not improve developmental outcomes at 3, 4, or 6 years of age. A follow up of this study reevaluated the development of these children when they reached 9 to 11 years of age. The study involved 429 children with persistent middle-ear effusions who were randomized to undergo prompt or delayed tympanostomy tube insertion. Delayed tube insertion took place 6 to 9 months after randomization for children who still had effusions. Persistent middle-ear effusion was defined as bilateral effusions that lasted for 90 days or unilateral effusions that lasted 135 days. Certain children with intermittent effusions of longer periods were also eligible for the study. There was no evidence that prompt tube insertion improved developmental outcomes. Standard test scores for reading comprehension, spelling, writing, and calculation were similar in the prompt and delayed tube insertion groups. Inattention ratings on visual and auditory continuous performance were also comparable. N Engl J Med 2007.


Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery. 2014. Treatment options in otitis media with effusion. Ear infection with effusion (OME) is the accumulation of mucus in the middle ear and sometimes in the mastoid air cell system. The main etiological factor is alteration in mucociliary system of middle ear secondary to eustachian tube malfunction which may be primary or secondary. OME is the cause of concern due to its occurance in paediatric age group, highest at 2 years of age, presenting as impairment of hearing leading to delayed speech and language development, poor academic performance and behavioral problems. In spite of this there are no confirmed guidelines of treatment to overcome. Many treatment options are available medical as well as surgical. Prospective study conducted to evaluate various treatment options revealed that auto inflation of ET is the main stay of treatment. If the ET malfunction is due to any reasons like adenoids, deviated nasal septum, hypertrophied turbinates or any other cause surgical intervention of the same gives 100% results. Medical management gives good results but recurrence is equally common.


Are oral antibiotics necessary for ear infection in children with ear tubes?
A study regarding treating common ear infections in children with ear tubes adds to a growing body of evidence that favors antibiotic ear drops over antibiotics swallowed in pill or liquid form in such cases. The study, involving 80 children, showed that antibiotic ear drops performed better and faster in treating middle ear infections in children with ear tubes than merely taking oral antibiotics such as swallowing a pill or liquid. The study looked at children ages 6 months to 12 years who had ear tubes, middle ear infections, and visible drainage in the ear. Both the oral and topical antibiotics cure the infections in more than 70 percent of cases. But the topical drops resolved the ear drainage three to five days faster and resulted in more clinical cures overall - 85 percent for those taking drops, compared to 59 percent for oral administration of medication. The tubes provide better access to the middle ear, behind the ear drum, so more of the ear drops medicine reach the infection, avoiding potential intestinal and blood absorption that occurs with oral antibiotics. The concentration at the infection can be a thousandfold greater than when oral or IV medication is used. In addition, because the antibiotic is not distributed throughout the body, there is less chance of developing antibiotic resistance. The research was supported by a grant from Fort Worth-based Alcon Research Ltd.


Snoring and ear infection
Hospitalization for a respiratory infection in early childhood, suffering from recurrent ear infections as a child, growing up in a large family, and exposure to a dog at home as a newborn were all related to snoring in later life. All of these risk factors may be related to allergies and infections, which can lead to inflammation of the upper airway early in life and increase risk for adult snoring.


Q. I've read through as many of your newsletters as possible to see if you mention anything for ear problems. I haven't run into anything on ears. Maybe you have a newsletter I haven't seen that might discuss something on ear problems. I'm just interested on what you might have tried or heard for a throbbing ear problem.
   A. I have not focused on ear pain since most of the time that is due to anatomical, neural or infectious causes and not necessarily something that has primarily a nutritional basis for a cause. See also information on ear wax.