Children’s Ear Infections, the Cause and Cure

Don’t let young children blow their noses!

Sinus means cavity and our faces have 4 of them.  Two in the forehead and two large ones in the cheekbones close to the nose.  When born, these sinus spaces are closed and as the child grows to adulthood, the sinus’ elongate filling with air and the face lengthens.

The Eustachian tube  goes from the area behind the nose to the middle ear.  In children under 7, the Eustachian tube is short and more horizontal due to the compressed sinus.

Therefore, if the child has stuff running from his nose and he blows, the stuff (schmutz)  will be forced into the short Eustachian tube and into the ear where it multiplies, causing pain and bulging the eardrum, often with enough pressure to burst the eardrum.  Then the mucosa swells, closing the little hole that drains the ear.  (Bacteria need a perfect culture medium to multiply and this dark, moist, warm, sweet apace provides that.)

You can fix it.  A marvelous Pediatrician, Dr. Robert Day,  taught me this long ago, using nose drops designed to reduce swelling…

Privine is an over the counter nose drop that’s been around for a long time and it instantly reduces swelling..  They’re the only drops that work and hard to find.  Amazon has them also.  (Nose sprays don’t work for this trick.)

Open and drain the ear canal:

  • Lay on the the child on the bed with head slightly tilted back over the edge and put one drop into each nostril.  Wait a few minutes.
  • Now, still tipped back,  turn the head slightly to one side and put another drop into the nostril on that side.  Wait again.  He can feel a tiny pop as the sinus tract opens.
  • Repeat this with the other side.
  • Sitting up, he will feel the secretions running down the back of the throat.
You can get rid of the schmutz by just wiping the nose but that will make the skin sore.  Kid’s instinct is to eat it and this causes no harm (other than being disgusting).  Stomach acids will kill the bacteria.  Mucous in the stomach is not digested so if there is enough of it, the child may throw it up and that’s fine.

End Winter Colds

To prevent winter colds put water pans in bedrooms, under the beds is fine.  In one day, adults loose 200cc of water from breathing (one large glass full) and this must be replaced by moisture in the air we breathe back in.  If the air is dry, and it becomes dry with the heat on, the nasal and bronchial mucosa thickens to protect itself.  This thickness is the perfect culture media for the first bacteria that flies by!  It’s warm, sweet, dark and moist.  This is how colds begin.  Echinacea increases t-cells to fight the bacteria and Vit. C  kills it.  At one time in evolution these things were in our diets but difficult these days so they should be added.  The water pans should have a large surface exposed to air.  In Wisconsin, they were in everyone’s home.

I have had many beginnings of colds in the last 40 years but only one severe one.  (A co-worker came to work sick and spread it everywhere… in an NICU!  Employees who go to work sick ought to be punished as should parents who send sick children to school.)  At the first tiny glimmer of a cold, I fluff up the pillows, dress warmly, get a good book, some tea, take Echinacea (the root, not flowers, roots are concentrated) and drink Odwalla C-Monster.  The cold lasts 1 day, no green stuff, no coughing, no fever, just the tiny scratch to the throat that’s the first clue.

To fix chest congestion use Vicks Vapor Rub on the skin.  It contains Camphorated Oil, Eucalyptus and Menthol.  Camphorated Oil, rubbed on the chest and covered with a little piece of cloth, wool is best.  It acts as a counter-irritant, bringing greater blood supply to the outside of the chest (the skin gets pink) but it  also brings increased blood supply to the inside of the chest cavity.  This loosens the thicken mucosa and it’s coughed up.  Never take Vicks Vapor Rub internally!

Kids should be calm and quiet when they are sick.  Make them go to bed. The time when a cold is risky business is if the cause is a Strep bacteria and not a virus.  Strep creates debris and if the patient is active, that debris can get pumped everywhere in the body.  Streptococcus A causes Strep throat, an extremely sore throat with white things spotted on the back of the throat.  That’s  bacterial debris and can migrate throughout the body causing kidney damage, Rheumatic Fever or Sub-acute Bacterial Endocarditis, an infection inside the heart.  SBE produces bacterial debris plaques which stick to the underside of heart valves and can, with exertion, break loose into the blood stream and plug the first small size blood vessel which is often in the brain, causing a stroke.  Use the handle of a spoon and with a flashlight, check the back your child’s sore throat, maybe morning and night for white spots. This is the ‘cold’ that needs antibiotics.  Antibiotics do nothing for virus infections and simply sensitize the body to the medication, meaning that it loses the ability to kill bacteria. Strep is mostly seen in school age children.

Personal Birthing Plans

There should be only two things on a mother’s birthing plan…  anything else is self-indulgent and frivolous.  This is not a social event.  Childbirth is deadly serious and must remain professional.


  • My baby will be born quickly.
  • The doctor must be in the hospital.  If not, the baby will be delivered anyway.

BIRTHING PLAN  (single item)

  • The doctor will be in the hospital from the time I arrive  until I deliver.

Here are the reasons:

  • Problem with a long birthing plan.  Nurses and doctors have done the things you need to have happen, hundreds of times.  They are experts and most importantly, with this level of skill much os the success is in their automatic responses.  They may look calm and friendly but each of them is a machine with hair trigger alertness to the smallest clue that something is out of the ordinary.  And they jump on it.
  • Anything distracting attention from this alertness, making sure you have fresh water next to you at all times for example, or the lights dimmed, removes focus from THE BABY.
  • A personal birthing plan, written down and presented to the hospital or it’s agents (the staff) becomes a legal document and completely changes the focus of every minute, away  from the baby and task at hand to ‘how do we keep from being sued?’  Instead of a staff of experts at your side, your birthing plan has changed them to a group of people wary and self-protective.  And that is against your best interests.  Instead of a partnership that flows perfectly, the event becomes one of possible adversaries and clumsy.    We had a mother one night who came in with a 27 item birthing plan and the R nurse said:  “You know nothing good’s going to come of this.”

Who benefits?  No one.

Who is at increased risk?  The baby.

Why  does the ideal birthing plan have only these two particular things?

  • If a doctor is on the golf course, the mother can labor on and on until he is ready.  Each contraction is the force of 2Gs on the baby’s head.  I’ve seen mothers allowed to remain in active labor for 24 hours…  720 compressions of the baby’s head with the force of 2 Gs.
  • In the 1950s and 60s, nurses were instructed by the doctor to prevent delivery by holding the mother’s legs together until he got there.  In those days if the doctor wasn’t there, you did not have to pay him.

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaking a baby that won’t stop crying may be an instinct of frustration. Even the saints among us have been to that point and somehow stopped themselves.

PACIFE Music to Calm stops the crying minutes after the screamer takes a breath and is quiet enough to hear it.  The mathematical character of this music along with the primal tunes Bernstein talks about quickly engage them.

Newborn drug babies, after the third day, begin a terrible and violent drug withdrawal.  The muscles in their legs undulate and cramp (we can see it and feel it), they purple cry nonstop, they shake, they have explosive diarrhea that eats their bottoms raw and they are beyond comfort.  This is the comment of one NICU nurse about a baby in drug withdrawal…

“I found a tape player and began to play the PACIFE music for him… I’d no sooner put it into the tape player than he stopped crying. It’s instantaneous. He’s looking around with a relaxed, peaceful face.”

– S. S., NICU Registered Nurse


Thin Hair

Whenever I’d meet a patient with thick, wonderful hair I’d ask her what she did to keep it that way and get the same answers… brush with a wire brush and take Cod Liver Oil, (the great majority of these women were European).

The wire brush stimulates the scalp, increases blood flow to it and feels great. It should have smooth rounded tips, not one with the tips attached so that the hair catches in it. Brookstone had the perfect brush but it seems to be gone.

The Cod Liver oil must be cold water cod which is only Norwegian Cod Liver oil. It comes in capsules and is available everywhere.

And then, it seems we are lacking in some minerals needed to keep hair from falling out.

A story:

  • For 2 years I commuted to LA every week and when in LA, my hair was not falling out. Returning to Portland, every morning’s lost hair was alarming. The most important difference was that in LA, I drank only bottled water. It seemed that it wasn’t just bottled water but specifically  Arowhead water that stopped the hair loss and grew lovely thick, long hair.  (Only the water from Arowhead California in the San Bernardino Mountains grows hair, and you can tell it because the taste is a bit flat.  The other source is sold in Washington State and Canada and this water tastes sweet.)

Stress will make hair fall out, so one worries about becoming bald which adds to the stress.  Bad hair loss in women presents a dilemma, should you shampoo often or not.  The answer is yes. Failing to keep the scalp free of dandruff plaques will smother hair follicles and prevent new growth.

Then there is post-partum hair loss.  Dreaded.  It’s hormonal and happens at three months and three weeks after birth of a child. Don’t worry, it grows back.

Dark Skinned People are Born White

Again and again, mom stands waiting next to the isolette, beaming, happy and proud when dad comes in to see his baby for the first time.  He becomes angry, sometimes raging angry.  His baby is white skinned and blue eyed and dad accuses mom of infidelity.

I’m always amazed that this is not understood by every member of every dark skinned family.  Not knowing this causes terrible problems and heartbreak.

Skin color, hair color and eye color is a  factor of light.  Melanin, the cause of color is only triggered by light and the baby has just emerged from the darkest place on earth.  Color takes awhile to develop and may not be fully established for 6 months.  The white color may be pink or reddish but this is from a high ‘crit’, the red blood cell count.  With a normal crit the baby’s color would be white skinned not all but the majority.

On dad’s first visit, I’d tell them that all babies are born white and that their baby would have his beautiful color within months.  Then I’d show them examples of his color in his nail beds and the ‘Mongolian Spot’ at the base of the spine.

Little Children Need Water

We forget, it doesn’t occur to us but little children can’t get their own water, maybe even bigger children.  They can’t reach a glass or the sink and must ask every time so they probably only wait until they are really thirsty.  Figure out a way to put a fresh bottle of water (and crack open the cap) somewhere down low every day.

  • A story:  When I nursed the newest baby, I’d become very thirsty.  My little children would bring me wonderful glasses of water until I realized no-one was tall enough to reach the sink. So their father came out of the bathroom one day asking: “Why is there a paper cup dispenser on the wall next to the toilet.”  I said: “Because I don’t want them spreading germs.” Well, that didn’t solve my problem so I put one of those blue things into the tank and a sign up saying… ‘Don’t drink blue water’.

How to Find a Doctor

A friend, a well known actor from New York called, said he needed his hip replaced and wanted me to find him a doctor in Portland.

I went to the hospital of my choice, to the Orthopedic ward, in the middle of the night on the weekend and asked each nurse:  “If you were going to have a hip replacement, who whould you go to?”

I got one name.

Another friend, a Producer from LA called and said she was pregnant and wanted me to find her a midwife In Portland.  I said I’d find a midwife for her 4th baby but she needed an OB doc for the first.

So, I went to the hospital of my choice, to Labor and Delivery, in the middle of the night on the weekend and asked each nurse:  “If you were pregnant, who whould you go to?”

and again, I got one name.  (and midwives were part of the clinic.)

Why the middle of the night  on the weekend?  Well, those nurses would recommend someone who would be sweetly available to his patient at any time they needed him.

The Orthopedic Surgeon was Dr. Gregory Irvine.

The OB /GYN Surgeon was Dr. Susan Johnson,  now practicing GYN  medicine /surgery.