Ear Infections & Antibiotics

That dreaded day when your child has his or her first ear infection is a big bummer for me, and I mean a BIG bummer.

That day has come to the Hopkins' house for my youngest son who is 2 and here I am blogging about it. Now I'm sure you are thinking, "what is the big deal?" I know, I know, kids get ear infections all the time. It's normal, and I agree with you. It's definitely not the end of the world but I have an inner voice that has been growing and I just can't seem to ignore it. I've been on a journey for roughly 3 years now and virtually everything I used to think was normal is being challenged.

 It all started when I began researching the natural birthing techniques. From that I was introduced to a wide variety of natural foods, natural skin care remedies, essential oils, herbs, and something called a probiotic. As soon as I read about the literal war going on in our digestive systems between probiotics and antibiotics I was ruined. I needed to know more and thus began a 3 year journey. Read more on the growing concern over antibiotics.

Today, my concern is that my son is in the 60- 80% of kids who take antibiotics for viruses. Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, not viruses and Dr's don't usually concern themselves over the distinction when they are prescribing. If the ear drum or surrounding parts look red, or swollen or irritated, they prescribe antibiotics. The problem is that most ear infections are caused by other viruses (the common cold) that will eventually run their course and go away. When we take antibiotics, our bodies build immunity to the drug and eventually after long term exposure the drugs don't work as effectively when we really need them to for serious or life threatening infections.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that, in some situations, measures to control pain should be instituted before going straight to antibiotics. Using too many antibiotics on a global level has led to "stronger, resistant" bacteria surviving. The increased survival of these "resistant" bacteria has led to difficulty in treating bacterial infections with antibiotics when we really need them. If we stop using antibiotics for every viral infection the surge of "resistant" bacteria will subside."   Read more
Now I may sound a little crunchy, but I promise you I do appreciate balance in everything. I do think there are very sound reasons to use antibiotics and THAT is why I am struggling tonight with this decision. As I was reading about ear infections in particular, there are some guidelines to follow if you happen to not have a PhD after your name. Like me :)
  • children under 2 who have a high fever
  • double ear infections
  • children who have fluids coming out of their ear
My son seems to fit 2 of these criteria. He has had a fever for 3 days. (101-103 degrees) He also has a lot of fluid in his ear, so much so that the Dr. could not see his ear drum. It's not leaking out of his ear, but as we learned in chemistry lab, bacteria like to grow in wet places. This gives me a slight bend towards that fact that this ear infection, his very first, indeed may be a bacterial one that needs an antibiotic. As I pour that pink liquid into the measuring cup, I shudder to think of all of those wonderful live probiotics in his digestive tract that will be wiped out by this antibiotic. I also shudder to think of how many times I rushed to give my daughter, now 7, antibiotics as a toddler without really understanding the consequences. As a woman who loves her children dearly, I feel the heavy responsibility that God has entrusted to me to care for them, and I must trust that when I make a mistake, God is there to fix it.


Julie@teachinggoodeaters said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hopkins family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.