Ear infections can be common in children – and when they become chronic it affects the whole family. Read on to learn how certain foods may play a role in the reoccurrence of this painful condition and identify alternatives that can help.
By Dr. Annie Salsberg, N.D.
By the age of three, it’s reported that 71% of children have had one or more ear infection – and 33% of these children have had three or more episodes. An ear infection is the most common reason why children under six are prescribed antibiotics.
Some children may be at increased risk
Interestingly, ear infections tend to be more common in children with these conditions. When ear infections become chronic or reoccur with high frequency, it’s possible that dietary triggers may also play a role.
Diet as trigger
The area of the gut that comes into direct contact with digested food is called the gut mucosa. An immune response may be triggered when the gut mucosa is injured; certain foods, such as cow milk, may contribute to gut injury. This condition is referred to as leaky gut, and may be associated with inflammation in a number of body systems: skin, lungs, nose, and even ears.
There are many factors that may increase the risk of developing recurrent ear infections – especially when cold and flu season hits. If you suspect your child may have a food sensitivity (click here for common signs and symptoms), removing the trigger food may bring relief.
Trading out a common dietary trigger, such as cow milk, for an easier to digest option, such as goat milk, may reduce injury in the gut and associated conditions, such as recurrent ear infections. It’s a small change that can make a big difference for the whole family.
Dr. Annie Salsberg is a board-certified naturopathic physician and Nutritional Science and Education Manager at KABRITA.