My otherwise healthy little toddler suffered from chronic ear infections (otherwise known as Glue Ear) from June last year until December but has seemed to have knocked them on the head (for the longest time) anyway in the last couple of months.
It has been about 10 weeks now, infection free. That’s a big deal for us. He would literally present signs for one infection as another brewed beneath meaning disturbed, distressed sleep by night and hurried visits back and forth to the Specialist most weeks.
I wanted to share what has helped us to help Oliver. As you know I’m not a Dr (despite often convincing myself that I am), so any problems, please see yours.
1. Grommets in, adenoids out. Click on the NHS link for full definition and explanation.
Oliver underwent this operation after many doses of antibiotics failed him. It was a last resort. Nobody wants their child to go under general anesthetic and having it done before 3 is not that common. Oliver was about 22 months at the time. It is not a miracle cure and grommets often need to be inserted again as they are naturally released between 9-15 months. Oliver still got infections post op but after a while they really helped. **The grommet in his left ear released after 9 months but as the drum remained perforated thus able to drain fluid from the ear, a further op was not needed (as yet). We also decided to do the following:
2. Give him a short break from nursery if you can (as advised by our consultant)
I know this is not possible for everyone and I am very lucky that having a freelance career means I can share childcare with my parents. I had read about other parents taking their children out of nursery for various durations to assist in reducing common colds which lead to ear infections and feeling desperate, we decided had to give it a go. Since leaving, he has only had one cold that lasted a few days as opposed to several, constant colds which led to infections.
Thankfully his vocabulary is extensive and the consultant had said he was actually ahead for his age with his speech which is not always the case with children with ear problems who often cannot hear as well as their peers preventing them from speaking as well. (He has since returned to nursery after a 6 month break and has only had further infections quarterly-a huge improvement).
I took Oliver to an amazing Cranial Osteopath Doug who works with babies and children (as well as adults) at the Goodhealth Centre in Leeds. As the Eustation tube in the ear is shorter than in adults, infections are easier to contract. My Osteopath helped the Eustachian tube do a better job of draining the middle ear of fluid (the grommets also help with this of course) and also assisted in relaxing Oliver helping him to sleep through for the first time, in a very long time.
4. Vitamins and Active Manuka Honey
Oliver has always had an incredibly healthy and varied diet. Being the daughter of award winning restaurateurs helps and we try to reduce sugar in his diet. We decided despite this we would add vitamins to his diet and and give him a child’s dose (we like Seven Seas Haliborange Baby and Todder Multivitamin Liquid) as it can go into a drink if necessary.
Additionally, the miracle honey that is manuka is now given to Oliver as a 5ml dose daily in milk. After the age of 1, children are allowed honey and this one has antibacterial properties used for many ailments. It can be expensive but I found 10+ (strong antibacterial level) of Manuka Honey in Aldi’s for approx £5 as opposed to £10 in most supermarkets (this price is subject to change).
5. Cutting down on dairy
I have read varied reports on dairy but the ones that said their children’s infections had improved were very persuasive. We decided it wouldn’t hurt to try and at least limit dairy in Oliver’s diet especially as he eats so well. We substituted cow’s milk with dairy free alternatives and used oils over dairy based spread. I am not sure if this has helped but was part of this five pronged approach we took so I wanted to share. I know some doctors who say it is purely hearsay and perhaps it is, but others do feel it helps reduce mucus and infection.
The above remedies have helped my child. Oliver was born 3 weeks early so this could have contributed to his infections.
Please do take advice from your doctor before implementing any of the above.
*Photo inserted at later date Nov 2012. ©Peter Broadbent.
** Post updated May 2013.
Update: Oliver was infection free for 7 months until Dec 2013. The grommets seem to be doing their job. One popped out but the eardrum was perforated so still drained the ear. Re-occurrence of infection over winter is likely so we are hoping it was a one off.
(Last updated 15th Jan 2013).