Q. My son is suffering his fourth ear infection this year. I am concerned and I am wondering if there is something I can do to keep him from getting these repeated infections. Would putting alcohol in his ears after a bath help? Is there some other preventative?
A. Ask your son’s doctor if the infection is in the ear canal (swimmer’s ear) or if it is otitis media (a middle-ear infection). Eardrops of alcohol and vinegar can help prevent swimmer’s ear.
To prevent middle-ear infections in young children who get them repeatedly, you might ask your pediatrician about a vitamin D supplement. New research from Italy shows that children prone to these infections are often low in vitamin D, and a supplement of 1000 IU/day can help prevent such infections (Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Oct., 2013).
We are sending you our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency so that you will have more information on this condition and how vitamin D affects the immune system. In adults, inadequate levels of vitamin D can increase the risk of diabetes, uterine fibroids and high blood pressure. In children, low levels of vitamin D have been associated with greater risk of respiratory tract infection (Inflammation and Allergy Drug Targets, Aug., 2013).
If you would like to know how to interpret lab results for vitamin D levels and what supplemental amounts are most appropriate, we recommend our Vitamin D Guide. Here is a link to this publication.