October is Children’s Health Month, and we at Pediatric ENT Associates would like to take the opportunity to discuss some common ear, nose, and throat concerns in children and how to prevent, diagnose, and treat them.
Ear infections are extremely common in young children due to the position of their Eustachian tubes. In very young children, the Eustachian tubes are not fully developed, and they tend to lie at a more horizontal angle than fully developed tubes, which can lead to fluid buildup and infection. Ear infections are generally not too serious, and can be treated through antibiotics, ear drops, or even just by leaving it alone and dealing with pain through over the counter children’s painkillers.
However, chronic ear infections may require stronger treatment, such as the placement of myringotomy tubes. These tubes can help with fluid drainage, so that your child is less prone to infection. A myringotomy tube placement surgery is very safe and highly effective when done by a qualified ENT surgeon.
Sinus infections can occur in children over the age of 6 or 7; before this age, the sinuses are not fully developed, making a sinus infection unlikely. Sinus infections, also called sinusitis, can be easily mistaken for the common cold, but there are signs to look out for that can distinguish between the two. Common symptoms of a sinus infection include a chronic cough, a fever that develops days after cold symptoms appear, ear or dental pain, and congestion that worsens rather than gets better.
Sinusitis can be diagnosed and treated by an experienced pediatric ENT doctor. Depending on what is thought to be causing the infection and how serious it is, treatments can range from letting it run its course and managing symptoms through pain relievers and decongestants to prescribing antibiotics or antihistamines. In the rare case that your child’s sinusitis becomes chronic or does not respond to treatment, surgery may be recommended to open up the sinus passages.
Pharyngitis, otherwise known as a sore throat, is another common condition in children. Sore throats may be viral or bacterial in nature, and how they are treated will depend on this distinction. If your child complains of a sore throat, take them to a pediatric doctor to see if it is a virus or strep throat!
Viral sore throats need to simply run their course. Children’s pain relievers can be used to manage symptoms, and it’s important that your child gets a lot of rest. Sleep, nutrition, and good hygiene will all help a viral infection run its course. If, on the other hand, your child is diagnosed with the streptococcus bacteria, or strep, they will be prescribed antibiotics to combat it. If your child suffers from chronic strep throat, it may be due to their tonsils or adenoids, and T&A surgery may be recommended.
Contact Pediatric ENT Associates Today
If your child is suffering from an ear, nose, or throat concern, it may be a good idea to bring them to an experienced pediatric ENT doctor for diagnosis and treatment. To learn more about ENT health in children and to schedule your appointment with Pediatric ENT Associates, call us at 205.315.5633 today!
Next, read about National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month