(NaturalNews) Every parent knows how much misery an ear infection can cause for their baby. The pain, irritability, and sleepless nights take a toll on the whole family. As more and more parents are learning, the majority of ear infections are caused by a virus which means they will not respond to antibiotics. In addition, overuse of antibiotics results in a range of consequences. What, then, can a parent do to help their baby with the pain and support the body in its effort to heal? Increasing numbers of parents are turning to alternative medicine and natural remedies for help. Chiropractic, certain foods, essential oils, and herbs are just some of the more popular remedies.

For years medical doctors prescribed antibiotics anytime a child had an ear infection. Overuse of these antibiotics has resulted in "super bugs" - bacteria that is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Serious consequences can result from this resistance; stronger antibiotics are being discovered but eventually bacteria will become resistant to those as well.

On a personal health level, antibiotics result in gastrointestinal changes because along with killing off bad bacteria they also kill of the good bacteria necessary for digestion. Destroying the bacteria also increases the chance for candida infections. Thrush and yeast infections are both common in children after the use of antibiotics.

Because of these consequences, more doctors are holding off on prescribing antibiotics and parents are looking for other options in the fields of complementary and alternative medicine. Chiropractic is the most utilized field of alternative medicine. Chiropractors work with patients of all ages to correct subluxations, or misalignments in the spine or other joints that interfere with the functioning of the nervous system. The nervous system controls all body processes, including the immune system. So, when the nervous system is not functioning properly due to a subluxation the immune system will not be at its best. When there is a subluxation in the cervical spine (the neck area) lymphatic drainage from the head and ears can also be affected.

Addressing decreased lymphatic drainage and a depressed immune system with a chiropractic adjustment can help the body heal the ear infection. Pediatric patients with ear infections receive a very gentle but precise adjustment along with some light lymphatic massage. Some chiropractors also give nutritional recommendations, like eliminating dairy to help decrease mucous.

Essential oils also can be used throughout the duration of an ear infection to help make the child more comfortable. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a humidifier will help break up congestion. Combining two drops of tea tree oil with twenty drops of olive oil makes an effective massage oil. Apply the oil in a light stroking pattern from behind the ears diagonally down to the collarbone. Warmed garlic and mullein oil (just a few drops) can be added into the infected ear to help with pain and inflammation. Make sure that you know the eardrum is in tact before you put any oil into the ear canal.

A naturopath can advise parents in the use of herbs such as echinacea, goldenseal, olive leaf, and St. John's Wort. Echinacea and goldenseal are known to speed healing by boosting the immune system. Olive leaf is used to fight infection. St. John's Wort has antiviral properties and helps to reduce inflammation.

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