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Ear Infections

By Van D. Merkle, DC

Van D. Merkle, DC Says:

  1. Become informed about Prevnar vaccine (PCV7), also known as the pneumococcal strep vaccine, or ear-ache vaccine. The literature does not support its use.
  2. Avoid ALL dairy products, sugar, and congestive type foods.
  3. Try Monolaurin, an immune system enhancer.
  4. Echinacea: 3/day. For infants 4 months to 25 lbs use 1 echinacea per day; open the capsule and put in food or water.
  5. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to be of great benefit.

Management of Acute Otitis Media Summary

  1. Nearly two thirds of children with uncomplicated ear infections recover from pain and fever within 24 hours of diagnosis without antibiotic treatment. Over 80% recover within 1 to 7 days.

  2. More than 5 million cases of acute ear infections occur annually, costing about $3 billion.

  3. The report points out that in other countries otitis media is not always treated with drugs at the first sign of infection. Rather, in children over the age of 2 years, the norm is to watch and see how the infection progresses over the course of a few days.

  4. The report notes that in the Netherlands the rate of bacterial resistance is about 1%, compared with the US average of around 25%. 1

What Causes Damage to the Ear and/or Ear Infection?

Ear Wax “During more than 25 years in pediatric medicine, I have never seen a case of permanent hearing loss as a result of ear infection…Parents and doctors can be responsible for injury to the ear canal and the eardrum because of the efforts to remove wax from the ear. It is inadvisable for you or your doctor to use ANY kind of instrument to remove wax forcibly from your child’s ears, even a cotton swab.” – Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD

The best was to remove ear wax is by inserting a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into the ear twice a day for 2 or 3 days. Let the peroxide remain in the ear for several minutes and then rinse the ear with gentle bursts of water from a syringe.

Pacifiers Pacifier use was found to cause a 40% increased risk of ear infections in infants, as well as higher rates of tooth decay and thrush, according to Dr. Marjo Niemela and associates from the University of Oulu in Finland. Pediatrics September, 2000;106:483–488.

Don’t Drink Your Milk! Ear specialists frequently insert tubes into the ear drums of infants to treat recurrent ear infections. It has replaced the previously popular tonsillectomy to become the number one surgery in the country. Unfortunately, most of these specialists don’t realize that over 50% of these children will improve and have no further ear infections if they just stop drinking their milk. This is a real tragedy. Not only is the $3,000 spent on the surgery wasted, but there are some recent articles supporting the likelihood that most children who have this procedure will have long-term hearing losses.

“The most common culprit [that causes ear infections] is cow’s milk, in its natural form or as found in infant formula. It causes swelling of the mucous membranes, which interferes with the drainage of secretions through the eustachian tube. Eventually infection results because of the accumulated secretion.” – Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD

What About Antibiotics?

Although more antibiotics are prescribed today for children’s ear infections—and for longer periods of time—in the US than anywhere in the world, several recent, independently financed studies have found that for the vast majority of ear infections, antibiotics are little more effective than no treatment at all.

Experts say the routine use of antibiotics against pediatric ear infections produces little health benefit while contributing to the spread of drug-resistant bacteria, and recurrent ear infection. The article evaluated the results of seven different studies conducted over the past 30 years. They found that while antibiotics were linked to short-term decreases in the duration of pain or fever in patients in a few (but not all) of the studies, no long-term (more than six weeks) benefits are reported. All seven studies concluded that children recovered from ear infections at roughly similar rates, regardless of type of treatment. JAMA November 26,1997;278(20):1643–1645

When Is Tympanostomy (Tubes in the Ears) Justified?”

In all my years of practice I have never seen a case in whicha punctured ear drum did not heal itself. The principle justificationfor the procedure [tympanostomy] is to prevent hearingloss, which is no justification at all. Controlled studies haveshown that when both ears are infected, and a tube is insertedin only one of them, the outcome for both ears is almostidentical. Meanwhile the procedure itself carries many risksand side effects. Justified as means of preventing hearingloss, tympanostomy can cause scarring and hardening of theeardrum, resulting in hearing loss.”– Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD

Prevnar, Pneumococcal (Strep) Vaccine Does NOTPrevent Ear Infections and Has Major Side Effects

Abstracted from lecture by Erdem Cantekin, PhD, Professor ofOtolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh at the SecondInternational Vaccine Information Center ConferenceSeptember 9, 2000; Washington DC.

Prevnar is a new vaccine against pneumococcus. This is themost expensive routine vaccine to date. The wholesale costis about $58.There are over 90 different strains of pneumococcus.The vaccine only has 7 strains assumed to be thecommon ones, but this is an uniformed experiment at best asthere is no way to know if this will be covering all of the strains.

The FDA approval states the drugs is ONLY approved for invasivecases of pneumococcal disease such as bacteremia andmeningitis. It is NOT approved for ear infections. This is mostpeculiar as it is commonly recognized that bacterial meningitisis primarily seen in adults not in infants for which this vaccineis recommended. The HMO trial in which Prevnar wasapproved had no placebo group. The control group receivedanother experimental vaccine for mennigococcus. This was theONLY trial that was done to establish the safety and efficacy torecommend this vaccine for every newborn in the US.

Just how well did the vaccine work in the HMO trial? In the first17 cases of bacteremia it worked perfectly. However it was NOT effective for any cases of ear infections. If Prevnar couldhave stopped this or even reduced this problem it would havebeen great. But that is not the case. The FDA data from theHMO trial and that in Finland showed that the prevention benefitis less than 4%. The efficacy claims of Prevnar in ear infectionsand pneumonia remain unproven.

What About Adverse Side Effects of Prevnar

The children who received Prevnar in the trial were:

  • 4 times more likely to have seizures
  • 4 times more likely to have stomach problems

Also, significantly more children who had been given Prevnardeveloped asthma. There was also one death in the Prevnargroup and none in the other. Prevnar also alters the developingimmune system. Additionally it will put selective pressureon the pneumococcal strains and has the potentialto change the natural pattern of strep infections.

Over one trillion dollars of health care system are under thewatchful eyes of the FDA, CDC, and the NIH. These three pillarsof our public health care system have become to be moreand more controlled by “expert panels” advisory committees.Such experts dictate policy and control the complex biomedicalsystem. They directly influenced taxpayers health and wealth.However there is a huge conflict of interest as most of theseexperts served the special interest groups who profit in theirdecision. Many are in financial relationships with variousmanufacturers and are registered as their paid speakers or assome people might say paid lobbyists.

In Summary…

Ear infections will not cause permanent hearing deficits, andmastoiditis is so rare a condition that most contemporaryphysicians have never seen a case. Conventional treatmentwith antibiotics, other drugs and the surgical procedure knownas tympanostomy is no more effective than the body’s owndefenses in dealing with the problem.

Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn’s Recommendations for Earache

  1. Wait 48 hours before you call your physician.

  2. Relieve the pain with a heating pad, two drop of heated oliveoil (not hot) inserted in the ear canal, and the appropriatedose of acetaminophen if the pain becomes unbearable.

  3. If the pain persists after 48 hours, see a doctor—not totreat infection, if that’s what it proves to be, but to rule outthe possibility of trauma or the presence of a foreign body.

  4. Don’t allow your doctor to use an instrument to remove waxfrom your child’s ear, and don’t try to do it yourself.

  5. If your doctor examines your child and finds a viral or bacterialinfection, question the need for antibiotic use. If hefinds a foreign body, let him remove it, but again questionthe need for antibiotic use. If your child has a self-inflictedinjury to the eardrum, your pediatrician may refer you to anear and throat specialist. Be suspicious and question theneed if he recommends surgical treatment or antibiotics.In all my years of experience I have never seen a case inwhich either was necessary.

  6. If your child has chronic, recurrent middle ear infection, it isprobably because of allergies or the antibiotics he was previouslygiven. If your doctor recommends tympanostomy,don’t permit it without obtaining a second opinion. Thisprocedure has replaced tonsillectomy as the favorite ofpediatricians, but there is no reliable scientific evidencethat it will do any good, and there’s considerable evidencethat it may cause further harm.