When Should I See a Pediatric ENT?
A pediatric ENT is a specialist in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the ears, nose, or throat in children. While you can rely on your primary care doctor to treat many common children’s illnesses, in some cases, the expertise of a pediatric ear, nose and throat doctor is necessary.
Why do children need help from a specialist?
Your child’s ear, nose, and throat regions do not fully develop until they reach about age six. Until then, their sinus drainage systems are more horizontal than vertical, making it easy for bacteria to linger and cause infections. The structure means that children often experience ear infections, fluid in the ears, colds, and other illnesses more commonly than adults. While adults experience similar ear, nose, and throat conditions, the symptoms may differ in children. Additionally, children do not always have the language skills needed to express their symptoms.
A pediatric ENT will be able to spot subtle symptoms and will have the expertise necessary to examine a small child who may not fully understand what is going on. You can see a pediatric ENT for any children’s condition relating to the ears, nose, and throat, but certain situations particularly call for the care of a pediatric ENT.
Ear infections are common in children, and while they can be extremely uncomfortable, these infections are often treated by a primary care physician by prescribing antibiotics. However, it is wise to see a pediatric ENT if your child is experiencing:
- Frequent ear infections (more than four ear infections in the past year)
- An ear infection or sinus issue that does not resolve with prescribed antibiotics
- Fluid in the ears that persists for more than three months
Does your child snore?
It is not normal for a child to snore habitually. If your child snores every night, it may be a sign of sleep apnea, a condition where the child’s breathing stops and starts while they are asleep. This may be caused by large tonsils or adenoids blocking the airway. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Coughing or gasping while asleep
- Sleeping in unusual positions
Allergies are common in children. Once accurately diagnosed, they may be easy to manage using antihistamines and other over-the-counter medications. However, if they are not correctly diagnosed, allergies can be very disruptive to your child’s day-to-day life. A pediatric ENT uses special tests to identify the allergens your child’s immune system is reacting to and is very skilled in treating allergies in children. Sometimes the symptoms of allergies mimic those of infections such as the flu. Your child may have allergies if he or she is experiencing any of the following:
- Itchy eyes
- A runny or blocked nose
- Symptoms appear during certain times of the year and then disappear (a sign of seasonal allergies)
- Hives or rashes
If your child is dealing with chronic infections or symptoms that recur or do not seem to fully resolve, do not hesitate to contact a pediatric ENT. We invite you to contact South Florida ENT Associates today to schedule an appointment.