Home Remedies For Acute Otitis Media

This is an infection of the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear with the back of the throat. Symptoms usually come on quickly and involve fluid accumulation, inflammation, pain, fever, and irritability. While acute otitis media (AOM) is usually related to a viral (not bacterial) respiratory tract infection (another reason to get your kids vaccinated against the flu), it can set the stage for bacteria to get a foothold. AOM is the most common reason for antibiotic use in children, and there is a need for supplements (or anything) to help reduce antibiotic use in kids who are prone to recurrent infections.

What is Acute Otitis Media?

Acute otitis media (AOM) is a painful type of ear infection. It occurs when the area behind the eardrum called the middle ear becomes inflamed and infected.

The following behaviors in children often mean they have AOM:

  • fits of fussiness and intense crying (in infants)
  • clutching the ear while wincing in pain (in toddlers)
  • complaining about a pain in the ear (in older children)

Home Remedies For Acute Otitis Media

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG probiotic (Culturelle)

Four clinical trials (and counting), with more than 1,800 kids in total, suggest that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG can reduce the incidence of AOM by 24 percent, upper respiratory infection by 38 percent, and antibiotic use by 20 percent. While this is still preliminary evidence, the fact that the adverse effects were similar to the placebo means it may be an excellent option to try. It appears to work by preventing infectious bacteria from adhering to the middle ear and other locations. Follow the dosage on the box.

Chewing gum with xylitol

In kids up to age 12, chewing gum with xylitol might reduce AOM by up to 25 percent, especially in those attending daycare centers. Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute that not only can reduce tooth decay but also may alter bacterial wall/capsule structure so bacteria cannot adhere and cause infection. Studies had children using it up to five times a day (two pieces of gum after meals for at least 5 minutes), and it worked better than the syrup containing xylitol. It can cause loose stools and abdominal pain in some kids, though.

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