When an adult or child experiences an earache, perhaps with a fever and nausea or diarrhea, an ear infection should be suspected. Acute Otitis Media (AOM) is a primary cause for physician office visits with an estimated 12.3 million visits per calendar year.
The Difference Between Acute and Chronic Ear Aches
AOM is different than Chronic Otitis Media. While AOM is typically a bacterial or viral infection of the middle ear, usually secondary to an upper respiratory infection, Chronic Otitis Media can involve a permanent perforation of the tympanic membrane. The tympanic membrane, or eardrum, which separates the external and middle ear, functions to transport sound from the air into the middle ear. Chronic Otitis Media can result from prolonged AOM, Eustachian tube obstruction or trauma. In addition to perforation of the tympanic membrane, the resulting symptoms may include hearing loss.
Why Children Get Ear Infections
In order to equalize the pressure on both sides of the ear drum, a tube called the Eustachian tube, connects the throat (naso pharynx) with the middle ear. As an adult, the tube is fairly vertical in its orientation, allowing it to drain fairly easily. In children, however, the Eustachian tube has a more horizontal orientation, and does not drain as easily. AOM in children is generally caused by S. Pneumoniae and H. Influenza as well as Brahamella Catarrhalis, Group A Streptococci and S. Aureus. AOM may also be viral (16%) in nature and in 20-30% of cases, no micro-organisms are found. It is interesting that in some cases effusion may occur. The effusion generally contains pathogenic bacteria, but may be sterile.
What To Look For
The first complaint is generally a persistent or severe earache. The episode may be accompanied by a fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The tympanic membrane is generally erythematous (red due to enlargement of capillaries and increased bloodflow) and may bulge.
What To Do
An adult or child with an earache should first be seen by a physician to rule out conditions more serious than AOM. For example, Chronic OM or effusion can be the signs of a more serious condition. Review articles in the medical literature suggest that a routine 10-day course of antibiotics used in the United States for AOM provides only marginal benefit and that the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria may be partially a result of overuse of antibiotics for AOM. Surveys have found widespread antibiotic overprescribing. Over 55.5% of all children had received antibiotics for AOM by 200 days of age. The ‘watch and wait’ method of treating with antibiotics only in those cases of AOM with symptoms persisting more than 3 days for adults and children over 2 years, has become standard practice in The Netherlands and adoption of this guideline has been suggested in the U.S. However, although most practitioners endorse the guidelines, only a minority follow them in the U.S.
Homeopathy Can Help
Reports over the last 100 years have shown that homeopathy is an effective symptomatic treatment for AOM. An open clinical trial in Germany found a faster resolution of pain and fewer recurrences of AOM in children treated with homeopathy compared to conventional treatment. A preliminary randomized controlled clinical trial in the United States suggests that children treated with the homeopathic medicines Pulsatilla, Chamomilla, Sulphur, Calcarea Carbonica, Lycopodium, and Belladonna experienced a decrease in symptoms over the first 72 hours with a significant result within the first 24 hours. A subsequent comparative effectiveness study of the combination homeopathic remedy in Hyland’s Earache Drops versus standard care for acute otitis media also revealed faster symptom relief. These findings are consistent with a larger literature on thousands of individuals showing earlier symptom improvements during homeopathic treatment of adults and children for common acute illnesses, versus conventional standard care.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a type of natural medicine which uses microdoses of medicines to help stimulate the body to heal itself. It is based on the principle that the symptoms caused when the healthy body is exposed to a large dose of a drug can be relieved when the symptomatic body is given a small (homeopathic) dose of the drug. For example, if one is exposed to a red onion, the eyes will tear and the nose will run with a clear and burning discharge. If an individual has runny eyes and nose from another etiology, for example hay fever, a small (homeopathic) dose of the red onion (Allium Cepa) may have the effect of relieving the symptoms. The non-linear pharmacological phenomena of hormesis and time-dependent sensitization have established the capacity of many different substances and even stress itself to initiate non-linear dose-response patterns. That is, low doses of a substance can stimulate endogenous changes leading to increased host resistance to higher doses of the same or a cross-sensitized agent. Specifically, for AOM, the homeopathic medicines contained in Hyland’s Earache Drops and Tablets (Pulsatilla, Chamomilla, Sulphur, Calcarea Carbonica, Lycopodium, and Belladonna) have been shown to help stimulate early relief of symptoms such as ear pain, irritability, sleeplessness, and fever associated with AOM.
How to Use Hyland’s Earache Drops and Tablets
Hyland’s Earache Drops and Tablets are indicated for the relief of symptoms of ear pain, irritability, sleeplessness, and fever associated with earaches in adults and children after diagnosis by a physician. The purpose of the medicine is to relieve the symptoms during the ‘watch and wait’ period sometimes recommended with adults and children over 2 years, before the prescription of antibiotics.
The recommended dose of Hyland’s Earache Drops or Hyland’s Infant Earache Drops is 3-4 drops in the affected ear, 4 times per day or as needed for the first 48 hours. Alternatively, the recommended dose of Hyland’s Earache Tablets is 4 tablets, 3 times per day for the first 48 hours. Please note that it is important that you be in touch with your physician about the diagnosis of the ear infection when symptoms begin. If symptoms persist for more than 48 hours or if there is discharge from the ear, discontinue use, and contact your health care provider again. If the severe pain or fever in excess of 101°F develops at any time, discontinue use and contact your health care provider immediately.