Are you or a loved one suffering from an ear infection?
Acute otitis media (AOM) is the number-one reason for visits to a family doctor or pediatrician in this country. There’s a reason for this — within the ear, warmth and darkness are the perfect environments for fungus and viruses to flourish. It is estimated that more than 10 million children are treated for ear infections each year in the United States, and that means lots of anxious parents up late at night.
Typical symptoms of primary otalgia (earache) can include fever, dizziness, a feeling of pressure along with pain and tightness on the affected side of the head, bulging eardrums, blocked sinuses, headache, irritability, insomnia and restlessness, as well as changes in appetite. No fun at all!
The most common cause of earaches is an infection, either viral or bacterial inside the ear canal, but also may be caused by foreign objects such as hair, insects, or ear wax lodged inside the ear, as well as food allergies, often to dairy or wheat.
Ear infections usually start a buildup of fluids in the inner or outer ear canal, commonly in the Eustachian tube that prevents drainage of fluids. When healthy, the Eustachian tube’s job is to adjust the pressure in the middle ear and drain fluid from it. Middle ear infections are more common in children because the Eustachian tube is much shorter in kids than in adults and more likely to get clogged.
Ear infections can cause mild or severe pain, or there may be no pain at all. In babies, symptoms can often only include fussiness and waking at night, runny nose, or a fever. If a fever is present and persistently high, do contact your health provider, and if the baby is under four months old, if any fever is present at all. Commonly suffered in tandem or shortly after a cold, an untreated ear infection can put pressure on the eardrum, which can lead to hearing loss, a ruptured eardrum and other problems.
Acupuncture is very helpful and can relieve the pain of an ear infection immediately. Acupuncture is extremely effective in speeding up the recovery time from ear infections and preventing them from coming back by treating both the root cause and the symptoms. The point sites are near the ear area, with a few others included. And best of all — the treatment does not hurt!
If you would like to avoid antibiotics, or if they haven’t helped, as half of all ear infections are causes by viruses, and antibiotics can only kill bacteria, acupuncture is a safe, effective way to relieve the stress and pain from earaches.
And that’s music to the ears!
Sources: Legler JD. J Am Board Fam Prac Jan-Feb 1992;1:110.
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