Kids who get sick often have weakened immune systems primarily from poor diets and lack of exercise. The average high sugar diet that most kids consume will suppress the immune system and promote dysbiosis, (an imbalance of the “healthy” digestive flora), in the gut. Overuse of antibiotics further causes immune suppression. The high intake of juices, even 100% pure fruit juice, will lead to many of the same problems adults will have with a high carbohydrate diet. Read more about carbohydrate intolerance here.
The most common reason for ear infections in kids is a food allergy. The most common allergens are wheat (gluten) and dairy (casein), followed by soy, corn, egg, and nightshades (potato, tomato, eggplant, pepper, paprika, Goji berry). Breastfed babies tend to have fewer ear infections. Also make sure your child is in a healthy environment, free of [cigarette] smoke and household dust and molds.
Proper exercise and a healthy diet as described in this section are the best guidelines for a healthier child. You may spend more time preparing your own food and traveling further to a health food store, but you’ll save in visits to the doctor’s office and sick days home from school.
From a patient’s mom:
Good morning, Dr. Gangemi,
Sasha Thornhill says
Hi Dr. Gangemi,
Our 20 month old son just got his 3rd ear infection (combined with colds) in less than 2 months. We’ve treated him with antibiotics each time, but obviously don’t want to keep doing that.
We just recently put him into daycare (3 months ago) and shortly after is when the ear infections started.
He does have some gluten (but he never had any ear issues with gluten prior to going to daycare) and hardly any dairy (he’s always either been breast fed or had rice milk with added vitamins, etc…). Otherwise, it’s all healthy, home cooked meals with lots of fruits and vegetables.
What would you suggest for treatment and prevention?
Even though he’s going to be more susceptible to infection at daycare, his immune system may already be run down from another predisposing factor and now it’s being challenged at daycare and not able to constantly fight off infection. It’s very common for kids with ear infections to be eating something they’re allergic to. I’d remove 100% of all dairy first, since that is the most common with ear infections. Cow milk – casein. If you don’t see a change after a few weeks then keep out the dairy but also remove all the gluten and see how that goes. They have to be 100% removed; even a little bit can be a problem. Start there; see how he does. If those don’t help would then consider other food allergies – soy, corn, nightshades, maybe egg.
John C says
Hey sock doc (dont know if im supposed to call you that over here but im ussually on the sock doc site and its cool :) but i was just wondering what to do for a child when they get a fever my 4 year old nephew had a fever of about 103 and my sister was quick to give him a typical fever medicine. What is the best way to go about treating their fever naturally when they do get one?
Yeah I get this one a lot in the office and having three kids myself I have some personal experience here. You should not suppress a fever of only 103, with few exceptions. That’s right – 103 is nothing to be too concerned about. At 104 you start to raise an eyebrow and at 105 is when you really need to be paying attention to the child’s symptoms. If they’re at 105 and coherent, with no neurological symptoms, then that’s okay too, as long as the temp doesn’t spike anymore. Usually what happens is that if/when the temp drifts up to the 105 area is when it peaks and then backs down normally. So I tell parents that right around when they’re in panic mode then things will get better. Again, you have to pay attention to other signs/symptoms at any temp (not just 105). So if the kid is having speech problems, extreme lethargy, and just functioning poorly overall even at 102-103, then there is need for concern – but this is rare. It’s rare even at 105. But if you suppress the temp artificially, especially at 103, (and I hear of parents doing this at 100-101), then you’ve taken away the body’s ability to fight the infection on its own – and that’s not good. So keep the child cool, hydrated, and rested, and they’ll heal up on their own. Monitor – don’t intrude!
John C says
Thanks alot for the reply sock doc i really appreciate the advice. It will be put to use.