How do you teach your child to take care of themselves? Is it reminding them to scrub behind their ears every time they take a bath? How about washing their hands before and after they eat dinner? Being a parent means not just taking care of a child when they’re hurt or sick, but teaching them the skills they need to keep such incidents from happening in the first place. Not everything can be prevented, however, and sometimes an infection can get bad enough to require the aid of a doctor’s expertise. Ear nose and throat problems are all very common in children of varying ages.
Instead of stressing out over what you can’t always control, arm yourself with the knowledge required to raise a happy, healthy and confident child.
When your child has an ear infection, the consequences can be felt for weeks, even months, to come. This painful illness is compounded by an excess of dirt, wax and bacteria in the ear canal. It manifests as swelling, throbbing, headaches, burning, fever-like symptoms and even eventual hearing loss if not reversed. It’s estimated five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by the time they’re three years old. While the occasional ear infection is natural, cholesteatoma and other chronic ear problems may require the aid of surgery to widen the ear canals to prevent future issues.
A sinus infection isn’t only for the cold season. These can crop up for any number of reasons, leaving your child feverish and unhappy for days at a time. Some even require endoscopic sinus surgery. Allergies can clog up your children’s sinuses, while constant exposure to pollution and dust can affect sensitive constitutions. Endoscopic sinus surgery is required when sinus infections become a common element rather than an occasional issue. Chronic ear problems can also be related to sinus infections. Whether or not your child needs endoscopic sinus surgery will depend on the frequency, and severity, of their illness.
Another side-effect of clogged sinuses is that of a sleeping disorder. While nobody wants to think their child has a medical condition that prevents them from getting the sleep they need to stay healthy, the fact of the matter is that sleeping disorders are just as varied as your kids are. Some are caused by stress, others are caused by snoring. An estimated 3% of children will exhibit not just snoring, but a form of Sleep Disordered Breathing. This can keep them from achieving a consistent REM cycle and leave them cranky and unable to concentrate at school or practice.
You know about endoscopic sinus surgery, the long-term damage of a chronic ear infection and now sleeping disorders. Where do your children’s tonsils factor into all this? According to the most recent government numbers, anywhere from 300,000 to 400,000 tonsillectomies (that’s a removal of the tonsils) are performed yearly on both children and adults. Failing to remove tonsils that are swollen or infected can impact sleep patterns, encourage sinus infections and cause a world of pain for an otherwise happy child.
Encouraging A Healthy And Happy Kid
With a little practice you and your child can become used to the habit of preventing common illnesses. Children should brush twice per day and floss at least once to prevent the onset of cavities, painful tonsils and infected gums. Cleaning the ear with a q-tip is a delicate process that should be manually done for very young children, as accidentally sticking the tip into the canal can damage the ear rather than clean it. Basic check-ups, however, should be done at least twice per year to ensure your child is always moving on the right track.
Medical health may not be as fun as soccer or painting, but your child will soon appreciate the benefits that come with personal upkeep.