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Ear Infection or Antibiotics Scam?

Recently we’ve been battling Annabelles second ear infection. She got her first one at four months and had to endure three rounds of antibiotics (one round of which was three days of antibiotic injections) before it finally went away. We went to see an ENT and by the time we got in to see him Annabelles little ears were good as new. Perfect! No tubes for us!

Fast forward six months, Annabelle is 10 months old and now we’re onto ear infection number two. Annabelle had just gotten over croup and apparently all the junk and drainage went into her little Eustachian tubes in her ears. When we went back to the doctor she had red, bulging ears that were filled with liquid. So here we go again with the never ending antibiotics. First round and her ears are still red and bulging, second round and she’s still screaming like crazy so we take her to the ER where they draw blood (because we all decide that she shouldn’t be in that much screaming pain for an ear infection and there must be something else going on). Her white blood cell count was abnormal and we were told her immune system was too weak to fight any infections or viruses she might come into contact with… antibiotic shot in the leg.

Back we went to the doctor and sure enough her ears were still red and bulging and had fluid in them. Another shot of antibiotics and over to the lab to get more blood drawn. As you can imagine by this point Annabelle is skeptical of anyone even looking at her. She’s been poked and prodded and had blood drawn twice and hasn’t slept through the night in at least 3 weeks so she’s probably exhausted. Her blood work came back fine this time and on our follow up to the pediatrician her ears were still red and bulging with liquid in them. We were told to do 10 more days of antibiotics. That would have been round 4.

Apparently I draw the line at three rounds. No more! My sweet angel has been through enough, not to mention her yeast infection that makes her scream every time her diaper gets changed thanks to the antibiotics. That’s enough, thank you.  And there begins my mission to find a better way to deal with this. We saw a chiropractor (we only went twice which isn’t enough to make a difference with the ear infections), I read a book about using xylitol spray and I did countless hours of google searching, we used colloidal silver for 2 days until I decided that I probably shouldn’t be using colloidal silver without ever having used it before and not really knowing what I’m doing even though I’ve heard people have great results using it.

I’ve had one ear infection before and I used garlic oil drops, poured hydrogen peroxide in my ear and took large amounts of garlic supplements until it felt better. Since I can’t ask Annabelle how her ear is feeling- actually I can and do ask her, she just can’t answer yet- so I’m not willing to do that. I wanted to find a practitioner that would take time to sit with us and offer not only a solution but an explanation. I’ve always been one of those people that needs to understand why things happen not just that they do and I needed that same peace of mind dealing with the never ending ear infection.

Thank goodness we found Dr. Jim Bob at the Lifetime Family Wellness Center in Hurst through one of the moms at Annabelles daycare and I took yet another day off from work and we went to see him in Hurst. He sat down with us, talked, let Annabelle play, explained things to us and without even looking in her ears told me that the right side of her body is not as strong as her left so liquid would likely collect in her right ear. And that’s when I knew we were on the right path. He gave us solutions and showed us some things we can do at home to help move the liquid. And he didn’t mention the word antibiotics. Thank goodness!!

Apparently when babies cry their ear drums get red, the harder they cry the redder they get and then they bulge. Liquid in the ear does not mean that it’s infected it just means there’s liquid in the ear. The only way to really tell if it’s infected is to swab it and test it. Annabelles ears have never been swabbed and she does an awful lot of crying when she’s getting her ears looked at, especially nowadays after all the ER fun she’s had so obviously they’ll be red and bulging.

So if there is no infection how exactly are antibiotics supposed to work to get rid of the redness and fluid? Antibiotics kill bacteria: liquid and redness doesn’t necessarily equal infection. No wonder we need so many rounds of antibiotics to get rid of ear infections that aren’t actually infections. By the time liquid clears out on its own you’ve probably done a round or two, or three or four of antibiotics which were taken for no reason since there was probably  no infection to start with and the liquid just drained on its own. So why, oh why, has my beautiful 10 month old daughter already been on six rounds of antibiotics? And why didn’t I find Dr. Jim Bob before all those rounds of antibiotics?

If you need ear infection help or want to know about some of the advice we got take a look at this fabulous blog post that Dr. Jim Bob wrote. Annabelle’s not tugging on her ear anymore and I feel confident that I’m doing the right thing by using a natural solution instead of jumping on the antibiotic band wagon yet again. Now the question is, is Annabelle waking up in the middle of the night because her ear still hurts or because after 3 weeks of sleeping in the big bed she has decided she doesn’t want to sleep in her crib anymore and she’s learned that screaming long enough means sleeping with mommy? We’ve recently discovered that when she wants something and doesn’t get her way she starts tugging on her ear- she’s learned that it’ll get her attention and get her picked up and carried around. We’re on to you Annabelle but you can sleep with mommy even if you’re not tugging on your ear.


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