Last year I watched a friend give her child 12 doses of antibiotics. Smart as a whip, highly aware, healthy, low chemical, balanced diet type of mother, Chloe looked at all the options to try to solve this exhausting problem. Her own mother, the child's grandmother, is a practitioner who uses herbal remedies, so she was looking at alternative ways to deal with her child's situation, as well as finding mainstream solutions with her doctor.
Eight months with a two year old waking regularly, ooze streaming from little ears. Little Jemma fretful, tired, stuffed up. Almost every day. Mum up frequently, night after night. Exhausted. Trying to work part time and get through the day and still have time to love two other daughters. Oh yes, and her husband.
Month after month of this. And Chloe just feeling that she had to go through yet another round of antibiotics, to get rid of this latest infection. Because it was so bad and her daughter was so distressed.
What would you do?
Grommets went in, still no real result. Still sticky smelly yellowy green stuff coming out of the ears. A grommet fell out, more expense. Child still miserable, oozing goo, hair matted. Sorry can't come to work today my child is sick. Again. And I don't know why.
And then after 12 doses of antibiotics a visit to a paediatrician. A step most of us might not take. Chloe started thinking there could be a bigger picture. Not just ear, nose and throat. And doctors were starting to talk tonsils and adenoids. More surgery. What else could this be?
Mum, tell me about allergies in your family. Do your sisters have hay fever? Did they ever have spiking temperatures as children? (indicative possibly of ear infections). Tell me about your parents, did either have chronic hay fever? The paediatrician also looked at previous blood tests to see if there were any allergy markers in the tests.
Take antihystamines, it is hayfever.
Chronic allergic rhinitis. Simply put, inflammation in the eustacian tubes can be a sign of hayfever in littlies.
Hayfever isn't necessarily seasonal, hayfever doesn't necessarily show itself as sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes and a runny nose in small children (eg. 2 year olds).
Recurrent infections and chronic fluid in the ear can also be a sign of hayfever. Hayfever is often inherited, so if your child is showing symptoms to Jemma, and you know you have hayfever in your family, talk to your medical practitioner and think about trying antihystamines before you go down the route of grommets, or yet another round of antibiotics, or more surgery.
And as Chloe says, with utter respect for specialists, her success to finding the answer for a chronic condition was to take a step back and look at the broad picture.