It's a vicious cycle: Your child gets an ear infection that won't go away except with strong antibiotics; then much of their gut bacteria gets killed off by the antibiotics, which reduces their immune system effectiveness; then another ear infection requires even stronger antibiotics, perhaps for a longer time ... and on and on it goes. What is a parent to do?

First, let me tell you what you can do to put a stop to your child having more ear infections. You will have to get them off of sugar and dairy. This means you will have to say "No" a lot, and mean it, and stick with it. Otherwise your child, and thus you, will keep suffering more and more ear infections. And this means any kind of sugar, even the "healthy" kinds, including sugar substitutes and any kind of dairy.

Once the child has not had an ear infection for six months or more, you may allow them stevia as a sweetener, but nothing else for several years. Unless you want the ear infections to come back.

As far as natural treatment, there are products available in health food stores containing herbs such as garlic, mullein and St. John's wort, which are usually effective in relieving a child's ear infection without antibiotics.

Ask the clerks where to find these, and follow directions on the labels. Or you can consult with a licensed acupuncturist who is knowledgeable about Chinese herbal medicine, which is very good at helping this condition.

Also, if your child has been on rounds of antibiotics, they will need probiotic supplementation to replace the immune-supporting gut bacteria the antibiotics routinely kill.

It is best to give your child a probiotic product with at least eight different strains of bacteria in it to properly replenish depleted gut flora.

A word about dairy: Pasteurized and homogenized dairy products are what is problematic and what I am talking about getting your children off of.

Believe it or not, raw milk and raw milk products, which come from government-certified, government-inspected raw dairies, will not cause problems for most children, or adults for that matter. Most people who are lactose-intolerant of regular store milk are not intolerant of raw milk. And most of those who are, are not intolerant of raw-made yogurt.

If you are interested in obtaining raw milk, there is a certified raw dairy in Queen Creek at 25208 S. Higley Road. You can go to or call them at (480) 279-4474.

If you are interested in reading more about raw milk and in finding out why a product inferior to it dominates the market, read "The Untold Story of Milk," by Ron Schmid, ND.

Joseph Garner, L.Ac., has been practicing acupuncture and Chinese medicine for 15 years, as well as teaching in higher education and serving on the national Acupuncture College Accreditation Commission. Contact him at (602) 295-3080 or

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