Jacob, a child with Down Syndrome, enjoying a family holiday and browsing in shops, like any other 5 year old child wouldJacob looking at books and watching TV at age 6 years - Down Syndrome doesn't stop normal development, but social attitudes do. - Jacob, a baby with Down Syndrome - Jacob at one year of age

Relief from Sinus and Middle Ear Infection, sinusitis and glue ear, in those with Down Syndrome

In hindsight, I now realise that the information provided here on glue ear, sinusitis, colds and infections, is one of the most important pages on this website

Unfortunately, not many people take the time to check this page out to realise how delayed their Down Syndrome kid may be because of the effects of glue ear and sinusitis. Runny nose, reach for the medicine, can make your kid’s speech / language delayed to an horrific amount.


1. Surgery for Sinus and Ear Infection Control in those with Down Syndrome – such as adenoid removal, tubes.

Laura J. Orvidas MD et al., 2002


Generally speaking, the surgical procedure of removing the adenoids etc tends to be much less effective as a treatment for kids with Down Syndrome.


Only about four out of ten kids with Down Syndrome, when operated on for sinus and or ear problems, will actually benefit from the operation in terms of reduced middle ear infections, hearing loss, and need for PE tube placement.

After having the sinus and or ear operation, roughly only one in four kids with Down Syndromeexperience improvement in middle ear infection that involves fluid behind the ear drum – otherwise commonly known as glue ear.

Kids with Down Syndrome were also almost eight times as likely to have muck draining out of their ears.

So, if the kid with Down Syndrome is to undergo such surgery, it is likely to be not as effective and additional operations may be required.

2. An alternative medical treatment to control sinus and ear infection in those with Down Syndrome or for kids who are susceptible to sinus infection and glue ear

I would also add, that Jacob’s paediatrician informed us that, with ear operations, such as the insertion of drainage tubes, that such operations have been associated with some level of partial deafness later in life.

He prefers to prevent and control ear infection and glue ear by use of low dose antibiotic over the winter season, in those kids who are susceptible to such ear infections, particularly those resulting in glue ear, or those who experience repeated respiratory infections.

I can say that with my son, Jacob, the drainage tubes worked for a few months, but then they fall out – which is expected. Once they fall out, Jaocb would keep getting the ear infections again and again. Since being on the antibiotic, his health has significantly improved. We are not gettting anywhere near the ear infection problems and glue ear symptoms we were getting up to starting the low dose antibiotic 🙂

A year later and we have found that Jacob seldom gets sick, even when the antibiotics are stopped. Sinusitis and glue ear being seldom encountered now by Jacob, even when all the kids around him as sick as dogs.

3. A home remedy to help prevent the sinus and ear infections, such as glue ear, as well as to alleviate sore throats!

As a past sufferer of chronic sinitis – as a result of my nose having a permanent mishape inside it – I prevent sinus infection and glue ear by using a salt water spray, such as F.E.S. – Two squirts, each nostril, every day. This has drastically reduced my need to see doctors for antibiotics for sinus infection and glue ear. When an infection flare up does occur, for example with a cold, I use the sinus spray according to it’s directions, which means more squirts.

Here’s the home recipe I use to make the salt water spray to prevent sinusitis and glue ear – it was provided to me by a nose and throat specialist and costs only cents to make:

400 mils or 13 oz water.

Add 2 teaspoons bicarb of soda.

Add 1 teaspoon table salt – iodised table salt may be better.

Mix well until all is disloved in the water.

Fill a nasal sprayer, such as an empty F.E.S. container or a 240 ml or 8 oz “Sinus Rinze” from chemist.

Gently tilt head up and spray in 30 ml or 2/3 oz if sinus infection present and use any required antibiotics presrcibed for the sinus infection – Do this 5 times a day.

10 squirts in each nostril if sinuses blocking or have cold, perhaps two or more times a day.

2 squirts each nostril is what I use as sinusitis preventative, or to help clear out the sinuses.

So, this may be a good home remedy for sinus infections in those kids with Down Syndrome that are prone to nose and or sinus infections.

To understand why a salt water spray in the nose may help prevent sinisitis, ear infection and glue ear in those with Down Syndrome – the infection normally starts in the nose / sinuses and works it’s way to the ears and sometimes to the eyes and also travels down the throat.

As an interesting side note, I have also found that a couple of squirts toward the back of the mouth is excellent as a home remedy for sore throats caused by colds! Relief almost immediate and lasts for ages. Wont work on sore throats that are physically hurt from coughing.

4. Popular over the counter medicines for sinus infection and conjestion during a cold can cause glue ear!

When a kid or adult has a cold, one of the most popular medicines to use are the medicines containing antihistamines. Research has now shown, that in normal kids who experience a cold, there is fluid behind the ear (glue ear) for about two and half weeks (2.5 weeks). If a kid is given antihistamine medicine for the running sinuses, the research found that the glue ear was suffered for approximately two and a half months (2.5 months). TWO AND A HALF MONTHS! The researchers believed that the antihistamine medicine, which dries up the sinuses, may thicken the fluid behind the ear making it much harder for the fluid to drain out. So, the antihistamine can significantly prolong the duration of glue ear.

The above research was found for normal kids, which means that antihistamine is expected to have a much worse effect on those with Down Syndrome, because of the poorer ability of those with Down Syndrome to have fluid drain out of the ears.

This is indeed heart breaking for us, as this tells me that Jacob’s – my son with Down Syndrome – language ability may be so delayed now because we used antihistamines with just about every cold he had to control his runny sinuses; during daycare, this was many times a year. So without knowing and in spite of massive stimulation from us to develop language, we may have inadvertantly caused him long term glue ear without realising it, the glue ear then caused him the significant language delays we have been fighting the last 7 years.

The researchers on this project report that the best thing you can do for your kid with running sinuses, is just to let the nose run [ – wipe the nose of course, get them to blow their nose – ] but let it run.

Believe me, there is so much new information coming along involving treatments for Down Syndrome, that what seems good advice one day, may be found to be the worst advice the next. If you take note of this research, your kid with Down Syndrome may be spared some of the horrific language delays of my son – we had been advised by a speech therapist to administer the antihistamines to dry up the mucus!

5. Now here, the chicken soup recipe that really helps with colds and sinuses – helps reduce the runny nose.

Yes, these home remedies can really work well and fast for controlling colds, sinuses and thereby glue ear as well. Only problem is that you may be hard pressed getting your child with Down Syndrome to take this home remedy – most chicken recipes that work with colds and sinuses rely on hot herbs and spices to bring symptom relief and faster healing.

The following recipe I find has a pleasant flavor – please note that you take it immediatley before breakfast, lunch and dinner. No more, as it is a potent medicinal soup.

Dr. Ziment’s Chicken Soup recipe for clearing conjestion and sinuses

1 quart homemade chicken broth,
or 2 cans low-fat, low-sodium
chicken broth
1 or 2 garlic heads—about 15 cloves,
5 parsley sprigs, minced
6 cilantro sprigs, minced (cilantro = Coriander leaves)
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp dried basil, crushed or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil – Carolyn uses the dry
1 tsp curry powder

Hot red pepper flakes to taste,
Sliced carrots, a bay leaf or two

Place all ingredients in a pot with-
out a lid. Bring to a boil, then simmer for
about 30 minutes. (If the soup is for your
own personal use, carefully inhale the
fumes during preparation as an addition-
al decongesting treatment.) Remove the
Solid garlic cloves and herbs and, along
with a little broth, purée them in a
Blender or food processor. Return the
Purée to the broth and stir. Serve hot.

Carolyn states she:
1… boil raw chicken bones for 3 to 4 hours.
2… Add a sprinkle of dried parsley flakes
3…Carolyn leaves out the cilantranto as doesn’t have a clue what that is.
4…Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic out of a jar (not the dried stuff)(freshly minced would be fine I guess).
5…Add 2 or 3 long hot peppers from a jar (fresh would be fine I guess).
6…Remove the bones when the broth is ready.
You can visit the mayoclinic website to learn more about the chicken soup studies that have been done if that interests you.
As always, the medical disclaimer, check with your doctor to make sure it is suitable for you.

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