The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued stricter guidelines on diagnosing and treating ear infections in kids. Published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics, the updated guidelines also added a recommendation against prophylactic antibiotic use in otherwise healthy children with recurrent, uncomplicated acute otitis media (AOM or ear infections) at ages 6 months-12 years without tympanostomy tubes, anatomic abnormalities such as cleft palate or Down syndrome, immune deficiencies or cochlear implants.
The indiscriminate use of antibiotics for ear infections is generating serious health problems in children worldwide. Many childhood ear infections are caused by bacteria and scientific studies reveal that an excessive use of antibiotics has led to "super" strains of these bacteria. These strains are now resistant to even the most aggressive drugs.
Research also indicates that antibiotics are usually not necessary in cases of ear infection. Scientists in the Netherlands looked at 240 youngsters with AOM and prescribed to them the placebo or the antibiotic amoxicillin. In ear exam findings, pain duration, or crying, there was no significant difference between the two groups. The authors of the study concluded that the "modest effect [of antibiotic drugs] does not justify prescription of antibiotics at the first visit, provided close surveillance can be guaranteed." (British Medical Journal 2000;320:350-4)
Studies show that chiropractic adjustments may boost the immune system and ward off ailments such as AOM. (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 1992;15:83-9). One study enrolled 46 youngsters under the age of five with ear infections and a whopping 93% of patients recovered within ten days of receiving chiropractic care. With only 1-2 visits, 43% improved. (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 1996;19:169-77)
Another study looked at five children with chronic recurrent middle ear infections who had been under medical care for at least six months and had failed to recover. With no more than five chiropractic visits, all of the children improved . (Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics 1996;1:66)
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