Should all children with ear infections have their vitamin D levels tested?
Children who keep getting acute ear infections - or recurrent otitis media may need more vitamin D. According to Dr Susanna Esposito at Milan University in her paper titled “Vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of acute otitis media in otitis-prone children".
Increasing numbers of reports are emerging over the importance of vitamin D including the importance of the vitamin D during pregnancy. So, this direct link shown by Dr Esposito in a randomised clinical trial between childhood ear infections and vitamin D level is both interesting and potentially very useful. As previously reported Scottish mums-to-be are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency than their more southerly sisters. This is probably an obvious observation as the best source of vitamin D is sunshine and in the UK, the further north you go the less you get. There is therefore increasing evidence of the need for supplementation especially when sun exposure levels are low.
The guidelines for treating otitis media in children vary and become more complicated as antibiotic resistance reduces the efficacy of the drugs. Disease prevention is always better than attempts to treat. We have long been aware of the risk of low vitamin D levels in the elderly and the association with bone fractures, and so new information in the paediatric setting is very welcome.
Children with low serum vitamin D levels should receive supplements as a treatment for their condition is the conclusion of the report. However, checking levels may also help prevent children from having to suffer from the repeat agonies of acute otitis media,