What Are Nose, Throat and Ear Infections?
Nose, throat and ear infections are very common today, especially within the first couple of years of life. Infections can occur in the middle ear, tonsils, adenoids, sinuses, or other parts of these small, moist areas. Doctors who treat these infections are ear, nose and throat doctors, or simply, ENTs.
More children suffer from upper respiratory infections than ever before. Some diagnoses familiar to many parents are:
- Otitis media
- Hay fever
- Strep throat
Some specialists believe that chronic nose, throat and ear infections, and using antibiotics to treat them, may lead to developmental delays, ADHD and/or autism.
What Your Doctor May Tell You About Nose, Throat and Ear Infections
Pediatric ENTs usually diagnose infections in the ears, nose and throat with conventional tools such as swabs, x-rays, lab tests, CT scans, and by taking a medical history.
Standard, conventional treatment protocols usually include medications, such as antibiotics, to treat the infections, surgery to remove infected tissues or place ear tubes, or even both medications and surgery.
If infections are chronic, doctors often prescribe prophylactic or long term usage of antibiotics, sometimes accompanied by the insertion of ear tubes in a procedure called a tympanostomy.
These tubes are believed to reduce recurrent ear infections by draining persistent fluid in the middle-ear cavity, which causes the mucous membrane to become inflamed, making it very susceptible to an infection by whatever bacteria are lurking in the nose and throat.
An estimated 700,000 ear tubes are inserted into children’s ears in the United States each year to prevent ear infections.
Parents are usually advised to see a physician immediately to start a treatment protocol as soon as possible to avoid further aggravated problems.
Another Way to Think About Infections of the Ears, Nose and Throat
Common childhood infections of the ears, nose and throat could be symptoms of underlying immune dysfunction often related to food and environmental allergies, nutritional deficiencies or other underlying imbalances.
Chronic upper respiratory infections may also be allergy-related.
Children with immune system issues and allergies often have other symptoms such as:
- Red ears
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Skin rashes
- Delayed development
- Mood swings
- Oppositional behaviors
- Chronic diarrhea and/or constipation
- Eating issues
- Chronic runny noses
Doris Rapp, MD found that treating the underlying issues involving the immune system allows the body to heal itself naturally, and without unnecessary side effects from invasive treatments.
Her book, “Is This Your Child?”, is a must-read for any parent interested in alternatives to medication and surgery.
The Role of Food Allergies
In a classic 1994 study, another allergist Talal Nsouli, MD at Georgetown University School of Medicine noticed that many of the children he treated for food allergies also had chronic ear infections or hearing loss.
He began to wonder: Could allergies be causing their ear problems?
Intrigued, Nsouli and his colleagues gave three standard allergy tests to children aged 18 months to nine years to check for sensitivities to foods, including milk, wheat, eggs, and peanuts.
All had had either a three-month bout with otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear) or had repeated episodes over a period of five months.
In his sample of 104 children, 81 children showed allergies, most of them to milk or wheat.
For the next four months, offending foods were eliminated from their diets. 70 got better.
When the foods were then added back, and within four months, 66 children got ear infections again–strong evidence that allergies and ear infections are linked.
Nsouli suggests that parents whose children have persistent ear infections ask their pediatricians about allergy testing.
Ear, Nose and Throat Checklist to Start
Make dietary changes:
- Eat whole foods
- Buy organic foods
- Remove all GMO foods
- Remove all fast and processed foods
- Remove all foods with:
- Artificial colors
- Artificial ingredients
- With an elimination diet, remove potentially inflammatory foods such as:
- Strictly limit:
- Refined salt
- Refined carbohydrates
- Consider implementing the Feingold diet
Include plenty of good quality fats, such as:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Wild salmon
- Organic chicken
- Organic turkey
- Grass-fed ghee
- Essential fatty acids from:
- Cod liver oil
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Evening primrose oil
- Borage oil
- Walnut oil
- Krill oil
Remove vegetable oils such as:
Heal the gut with special diets that focus on removing grains and reducing sugars, fructose and starchy carbohydrates, such as:
- GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) diet
- Body Ecology Diet
- GF/CF (gluten-free/casein-free) diet
- Paleo diet
- Modified Atkins diet (replaces the ketogenic diet)
Learn more about healing diets and foods
Add fermented foods and probiotics daily:
These will keep the gastrointestinal system and microbiome healthy and strong which in turn will keep the immune system strong.
- Eat kefir yogurts
- Eat fermented vegetables
- Eat umeboshi plums (very alkalizing)
- Eat miso soup, if soy is tolerated
Some good probiotics are:
- Gut Pro
- Dr. Ohirra’s Live Cultured Probiotics
- Garden of Life
- Klaire Labs
Use digestive aids with your practitioner’s guidance:
- Betaine hydrochloric acid (HCl) for low stomach acid (with meals)
- Digestive enzymes with DPP-IV for gluten and casein intolerances (with meals)
- Proteolytic enzymes (on an empty stomach)
- BiCarb (on an empty stomach)
- Bromelain (with meals)
- Papaya (with meals)
Clean up your environment:
Have you identified and removed possible environmental triggers, such as mold, dust, pet dander, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs)?
Have you identified and removed possible toxic exposures in the home from purchased products, such as detergents, soaps, lotions, and other cleaning and personal care products?
- Remove animals (both live and stuffed!)
- Remove carpets
- Use non-toxic cleaners
- Use non-toxic building materials
- Green your home
Avoid exposing your child to chlorine, fluoride, and bromine because all three are in the same family as iodine and can displace iodine in the thyroid gland.
Ask your pediatrician to run some laboratory tests for:
- Possible food sensitivities and allergies
- Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) IgG, IgA, IgE and IgM
- Nutritional deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. The NutrEval by Genova Diagnostics Labs covers the following areas:
- Cellular energy
- Mitochondrial metabolism
- Neurotransmitter metabolism
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Toxin exposure
- Detoxification need
- Bacterial and yeast overgrowth
- Gluten and casein sensitivities
- Organic acids: The organic acid test by Great Plains Laboratory for:
- Yeast overgrowth (Candida)
- Other microbial infections
- Comprehensive Stool Analysis by Genova Diagnostic Labs to identify:
- Altered gastrointestinal function
- Bacterial/fungal overgrowth
- Chronic dysbiosis
Use homeopathy specific for:
- Ear infections
- Apis mellifica
- Eye infections
- Hepar sulphur
- Throat infections
- Mercurius vivus
- Mercurius solubilis
Consider using Schueller’s cell tissue salts which can be effective as well.
Use herbs, essential oils and natural supplements with your practitioner’s guidance:
- Warm olive oil
- Oregano oil
- Manuka honey
- Thieves’ oil
- Colloidal silver
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC): helps with and prevents upper respiratory infections for those prone to chronic infections
- MSM transdermal cream
- Epsom salts baths
See a chiropractor:
A chiropractor can perform spinal cord adjustments for spinal cord adjustments, which can be very effective for clearing ear, throat, and respiratory infections.
See a craniosacral practitioner:
Craniosacral therapy can help relieve upper respiratory symptoms by removing blocks, releasing compression and alleviating stress and pain.
See a homeopath or naturopath:
These practitioners can diagnose and treat ear, eye and nose symptoms naturally so that the child’s immune, sensory, neurological and nervous systems develop without being compromised.
Use an ionic foot bath:
Ionic foot baths can help detox unwanted pathogens and are easy to do with children.
Use ozone therapy:
Ozone (through the ears) can help effectively heal bacteria in upper respiratory infections.
Still Looking for Answers?
Visit the Epidemic Answers Provider Directory to find a practitioner near you.
Sources & References
Adams, J.D., et al. Otitis Media and Related Complications Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 2016 May;46(5):1636-42.
Bell, I.R., et al. Homeopathic medications as clinical alternatives for symptomatic care of acute otitis media and upper respiratory infections in children. Global Adv Health Med. 2013 Jan;2(1):32-43.
Frieri, M. Asthma linked with rhinosinusitis: An extensive review. Allergy Rhinol (Providence). 2014;5(1):41-9.
Jacobs, J., et al. Homeopathic treatment of acute otitis media in children: a preliminary randomized placebo-controlled trial. Pediatric Infect Dis J. 2001 Feb;20(2):177-83.
Juntti, H., et al. Cow’s milk allergy is associated with recurrent otitis media during childhood. Acta Otolaryngol. 1999;119:867–873.
Konstantareas, M.M., et al. Ear infections in autistic and normal children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 1987 Dec;17(4):585-94.
Nsouli, T.M., et al. The role of food allergy in serious otitis media. Ann Allergy. 1994 Sep; 66:91.
Ramakrishnan, J.B.. The role of food allergy in otolaryngology disorders. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010;18:195–199.
Taylor, J.A., et al. Homeopathic Ear Drops as an Adjunct in Reducing Antibiotic Usage in Children With Acute Otitis Media. Global Pediatr Health. 2014 Nov 21;1:2333794X14559395.
Zemotti, E.M., et al. Otitis media with effusion and atopy: is there a causal relationship? World Allergy Organ J. 2017; 10(1): 37.
Neustaedter, Randall. The Holistic Baby Guide: Alternative Care for Common Health Problems. New Harbinger Publications, 2010.
Schmidt, Michael. Healing Childhood Ear Infections. 1996.