Due to immature structural parts of the eyes, nose, and throat problems, children are prone to ENT problems. As compared to adults, children have shorter eustachian tubes (ear part) until they reach the puberty stage, making them more prone to the development of middle ear infections. Their sinuses are developed completely at the age of 8 and their adenoids and tonsils are usually large, shrinking when they reach teenage years. Because children may not be able to fully express themselves, some ENT conditions are left untreated and undetected, resulting in inadequate management.
The most common ear conditions affecting children include external ear infections, middle ear infections or acute otitis media, and middle ear effusion or fluid (OME or otitis media with effusion). Due to swimming and using cotton buds excessively, external ear infections occur leading to bacterial growth and infection to the outer ear canal. The care and treatment involves administration of prescribed antibiotic eardrops, suction ear cleaning, and avoidance of water.
Acute otitis media or middle ear infection refers to an ear infection usually brought about by spreading of upper respiratory tract infections, infecting the middle ear. Fever, ear pain, and hearing loss are the common signs and symptoms of acute otitis media. Because of pus bursting and spreading in the eardrum, purulent ear discharge may result. Acute otitis media is usually treated with the use of analgesics for pain relief and antibiotic treatment to reduce infection. If there is perforation of eardrums, antibiotic eardrops, suction ear cleaning, and oral medications will be required.
The most common pediatric nasal conditions include allergy, epistaxis (nosebleed), and chronic sinusitis. Nasal allergy is manifested by a runny nose or rhinorrhea, sneezing, itchiness, and blockage. House dust mite is a common allergen as well as food. Antihistamines, nasal sprays, and allergen avoidance are the interventions given to nasal allergy. Due to the thin mucosal layer of children’s nasal cavity, they are prone to nasal bleeding caused by trauma, blowing, rubbing or infection.
The most common throat conditions happening to children include a chronic cough, snoring, and obstructive apnea. Chronic cough may last up to two weeks because of pharyngitis. Disrupted sleep happens due to nocturnal coughing. Obstructive sleep apnea may cause snoring with gasping spells causing behavioral changes such as temper tantrums, irritability, and poor concentration.
Allow an Eastside ENT specialist to help you. If ever your child is showing any of these ENT signs and symptoms, it is best to consult a specialist immediately to a trusted, reliable, and reputable ENT doctor.