Ear Infection , Pediatric Integrative Specialty Services

Greater Regional Health

Cheri Standing, MD

Pediatrician located in Creston, IA

Ear infections are one of the most common childhood health issues, but for children who experience frequent ear infections, Greater Regional Health provides help managing their care. Dr. Cheri Standing focuses on prevention in the long term and treatment in the short term. If your child suffers from frequent or recurring ear infections, call us today to schedule a consultation to find out more about how Dr. Standing can help.

Ear Infection Q & A

What are the symptoms of an ear infection?

Acute otitis media is diagnosed when the middle ear is filled with pus. Treatment of ear infections accounts for the
largest use of antibiotics in childhood in the United States. Most ear infections will resolve without antibiotics, but
the fluid can persist after the bacteria or virus is gone. This fluid is gone in 90% of kids within 3 months, but when
it persists, it is called chronic otitis media or serous otitis. Repeated ear infections are called recurrent otitis
media. Persistent fluid can cause hearing impairment, usually short term. Thirty percent of children under two
years old with recurrent ear infections have some hearing impairment. Because this causes concern for associated
language and academic success, physicians in the 1980s and 90s started recommending ear tubes. More than
650,00 tympanostomy (ear tube) operations are now performed each year. Some factors that increase the risk for
otitis media include exposure to lots of kids, formula feeding, no immunizations, smoke exposure, dairy exposure,
allergens and low vitamin D levels.

Since ear infections are self-limiting (resolve without antibiotics), it is important to look at other causes of
persistent middle ear fluid. Colds, allergies and food sensitivities can all cause fluid in the ear. Your child may have
an ear infection if they’re exhibiting:

  • Pain in the ear (for children old enough to vocalize pain)
  • Tugging at the ear or crying more than usual (for children too young to vocalize pain)
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty balancing
  • Visible fluid draining from the ear
  • A fever of 100°F or higher.
  • Diminished hearing or a feeling of fullness in the ear (in older children)

If you think your child may have an ear infection, it’s best to bring them into Bluebird Integrative Pediatrics to be sure. To diagnose an ear infection, Dr. Standing looks inside your child’s ear with a special device.  

What causes ear infections?

It’s quite common for children to get ear infections, especially as the result of a cold, flu, or allergy. Typically, these conditions cause congestion and swelling, which in turn results in fluid accumulating in the middle ear. When the fluid becomes infected with bacteria or a virus, it turns into an ear infection.

Ear infection triggers:

  • Viral infections like influenza, adenovirus
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Atopy (allergic rhinitis, cow’s milk or other food allergies or sensitivities,
  • Secondhand Smoke
  • Air Pollution

Because the passages within a child’s ears are narrower, shorter, and more horizontal than they are in adults, it’s
easy for bacteria and viruses to access the fluid that may be trapped inside the ear. Children are also more likely to
get ear infections when they’re frequently exposed to other children, like at school or daycare.

How do you treat ear infections?

Many people assume that antibiotics are the only way to treat an ear infection, when in fact that’s rarely the case. Ear infections often resolve on their own with a little at-home care and pain relief, if necessary.

If your child experiences frequent ear infections, Dr. Standing can work with you to prevent ear infections in the long term. There are certain techniques and dietary interventions nutritional strategies that can help prevent ear infections.

If you are motivated and committed to making lifelong diet and lifestyle changes, are interested in helping your child learn and appreciate some of the approaches that are often only offered to adults-- -like yoga, mindfulness, and nutritional education---contact Dr. Standing today to reserve a seat at her next free dinner talk. Should you choose to work with Dr. Standing she will begin by meeting with both parents so together you can determine the best plan for you and your child. Dr. Standing’s 4 to 6-month comprehensive programs include individual sessions with Dr. Standing, a health coach, exercise specialists, reading material, group classes and online video material. Dr. Standing and her team will work closely with your family to mentor you through each step of the process to make sure you feel supported. As you and Dr. Standing discover what works for your child, you can help them develop healthy habits that last a lifetime.