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Dairy Associated With Recurrent Ear Infections
Earaches and ear infections are one of the most common reasons why parents bring their children to the doctor's office. In most cases, those children who develop an ear infection will develop subsequent infections. My heart's desire is to prevent these children from suffering repeatedly. This requires first relieving their current earache or ear infection and then educating their parents on how to prevent it from reoccurring. Fortunately, this is generally a lot easier than most parents realize. Unfortunately, many parents struggle when confronted with the relationship between dairy consumption and recurring earaches or ear infections. The knowledge calls for dietary changes. For some, making dietary changes comes easier than for others.
Scientific evidence shows that children with chronic milk allergies experience significantly more recurrent ear infections (otitis media) during childhood. This has been documented in a study published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Antibiotics are repeatedly prescribed for these children and many eventually end up undergoing surgery to insert tubes in the ears. Inflammation prevents the Eustachian tube from draining properly resulting in bacteria colonizing in the inner ear. Not a pretty picture, and a painful one as well. Even though the bacteria can be killed by antibiotics, the inflammation which triggered the problem is not necessarily resolved and so in time the bacteria return.
The most common cause of ear infections is a milk allergy. Dairy milk is the first food babies are introduced to. For these children, dairy milk is fuel added to the fire. Often removing dairy resolves the inflammation. Sometimes there is more going on in which case it may be necessary to conduct further testing. However, removing dairy from the diet frequently resolves the problem. The number of children who regularly come to my office for ear infections has dropped significantly once this simple dietary change is implemented in their homes.
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