Monday, August 22, 2011

Swimmer's ear

Since summer is almost over, my daughter and I are trying to enjoy every second of it. If the weather is hot, we are at the pool!

About 2 weeks ago on a Friday morning, my daughter started complaining about earache. I thought it was just some discomfort (from going very often to the pool) that it would go away by itself, but I was wrong. By late afternoon, I couldn't tuck her hair behind her right ear nor get close to it. She was having hard time chewing her food and opening her mouth. She couldn't rest her head on the pillow and it was hurting even when she was walking!

Once again, being a first time mom, I didn't have too much experience about it. The only thing that I was certain, was that if she would keep feeling that way, I would have to take her to the ER. I really would like to know why kids always get sick on Friday nights when we can't take them to be examined by their pediatricians!

I called one of my friends to talk about it and she recommended me a homeopathic eardrop (Similasan) and tablets (Earache tablets) that she had given to her son when he complained about earache. Since it didn't need a prescription and there is no side effects on homeopathic medicine, I bought it.

The homeopathic pharmacist advised me that if the symptom wouldn't go away in 48 hours, that I should take her to the doctor. That gave me some time and spared us from going to the ER.

I gave it to my daughter that night to see how she would respond to it. Amazingly, she didn't wake up during the night complaining about earache and by the next morning, she was feeling much better. She was still in pain, but nothing like the night before. By the end of the day, she would only talk about it if I would ask her how she was doing. At night, before tucking her into bed, I noticed that the redness on the back of her ear had gone away and that she was able now to touch her ear. Her condition was really improving!

Before the 48 hours period, my daughter was PAIN FREE!!! She could rest her head on the pillow, touch her ears (and pull it) and tuck her hair behind her ear as if nothing had happened.

I'm VERY thankful to my friend for introducing me to homeopathy. It is natural, fast and effective! Homeopathy is a type of alternative medicine developed by a German physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann which is based on 2 principals: "Law of Similars" and "Minimum Dose". The first and main principal is based on that any substance, which can produce symptoms in a healthy person, can cure similar symptoms in a person who is sick, and the second principal is based on extreme dilution of substances help remove the harmful effects of it while yet maintaining its beneficial effects.

After searching about earache, I learned that earache can be caused by an external ear canal infection (Swimmer's Ear) or by a middle ear infection (Otitis Media). While the external infection is often associated with water in the ear canal that is not properly drained, the middle ear infection (the most common diagnosis in sick children in the U.S.) is associated to a sore throat, cold or other respiratory infection. I also learned that bottle-feeding while the child is lying down is a risk factor for developing otitis media (due to the position of the eustachian tube that leads into the middle ear). If bottle-feeding, always keep the child's head a little bit raised.

A lot of swimming can wash away the wax protection of the ear canal and lead to wet conditions which favors bacterial growth leading to otitis externa (swimmer's ear).

Swimmer's ear tips:

  • Keep your child's ear canal as dry as possible during healing process (avoid shampooing)
  • Avoid the swimming pool for the next week
  • Try to prevent future episodes by drying the ears with a towel and by placing drops in the ear after swimming
  • It is recommended to place 5 drops of white vinegar or rubbing alcohol or a mixture of 50% white vinegar / 50% rubbing alcohol into each ear to help evaporate the water out of the ear canal after swimming (if the child has history of swimmer's ear infection)
If you still want to learn more about it, Dr. Sears' website has a great page about how to tell if the child has swimmer's ear or otitis media infection.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

My Second Versatile Blogger Award!

Wow, I just can't believe it. I just won my second Versatile Blogger Award!

About 2 weeks ago, Mitz wrote a comment on my "Postpartum Hair Loss" post letting me know that she had given me this Award. I couldn't believe it, since I had just gotten one about a month ago!

I'm very honored and humbled about it. Thank you Mitz!

If you haven't visit Crevice of a Crumpet (Mitz's blog), you should! Mitz is a bright 29 years old mom of 3 kids mastering her marriage, motherhood and a second master's degree! In her own words: "I am often asked how I manage to do everything. My blog is a chance for me to share a glimpse of what its like attempting to raise three socially productive and responsible children, while maintaining a career, my sanity and a sense of humor."

The Rules after accepting the Versatile Blogger Award are:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post. (Checked)
  • Share 7 things about yourself (Checked - I have done it about a month ago)
  • Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs. 

Now, the 15 blogs that I have chosen to receive the Award (in alphabetic order):

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Postpartum Hair Loss.

I don't remember having better hair than when I was pregnant. I had a full, luscious head of hair! But as we all know, nothing last forever.

About 3 months after delivering my daughter, I started to notice some hair loss. I remember having a lot of hair on my hands just by running my fingers through it. There was hair on my clothes, on my pillows and on the carpet. It was scary! But nothing was scarier than getting handfuls of hair falling out when I was showering. I really thought I was going bald. Actually, I started noticing some small bald spots on my head! I was very self-conscious about it and I used to cry some days while showering ( after deliver I used to cry a lot about little things and this was not little).

As a first time mom I had no idea that this was one of those temporary pregnancy side effects. Only after talking to other mothers through a web forum (ivillage) that I started to realize that I was not the only one experiencing hair loss.

Later I came to understand that it was all related to the hormonal changes. During pregnancy, estrogen levels are high causing hair to remain in the growing phase which keeps it from falling out (that is the reason I had such a nice hair during pregnancy!). Some women may even grow hair in unexpected areas, such as chest, face and arms.

After deliver or weaning from breastfeeding (while breastfeeding estrogen levels are high) there is a drop in the estrogen levels causing the hair to fall out and return to the normal cycle. The hair may fall out all at once (my case).

As I mentioned before, this side effect is only temporary and hair loss returns to normal within six to twelve months.

There is no medication that can prevent this hair loss, but here are some helpful tips:

  • Shampoo only when necessary and when you do it, use a thickening shampoo and conditioner.
  • Use a wide tooth comb and avoid combing wet hair
  • Avoid ponytails or any other style that pulls your hair
  • Avoid blow dryers and curling/flat irons

Even though pregnancy side effects can be hard to go through, it is all worth it. At the end, everything goes back to normal and we have a beautiful baby to love!

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