Allergies, frequent colds and congenital problems are all frequent culprits distressing ear, nose and throat problems in children. And these symptoms can actually hamper your child’s development—and sometimes their lives. Your pediatric ENT at Princeton Otolaryngology Associates: Dr. Scott L. Kay can diagnose and provide proper, child-appropriate treatment so you and your child can breathe easy again.
How Can I Tell If My Child Has an Ear Infection?
Ear infections (Otitis media) are the number one reason parents haul their children to the doctor. With touchy, immature immune systems kids are often far more susceptible to more frequent colds that trigger head congestion. At the same time, the anatomy of a child’s head is still developing from birth to age six—specifically the Eustachian tubes.
These tubes maintain proper air pressure in the middle ear (for hearing) and normally drain fluid from the ears down into the throat. But the Eustachian tubes are not fully developed in early childhood. They are narrower, weaker and more horizontal, so they can easily clog with bacteria and fluid from backups in the nose and throat. Hence the frequent ear infections, ear pain, pressure, ear drainage, and sleepless nights.
If your child has recurring ear infections, you need to visit Princeton Otolaryngology Associates: Dr. Scott L. Kay for proper diagnosis and treatment; not only to relieve your child’s pain but because this window of early childhood is critical to your child’s speech and language development. Frequent ear infections often negatively impact hearing, making it harder for your child to develop these important skills.
Why Does My Child Have a Constant Runny Nose?
Ear and nose problems in children are usually interconnected because the very anatomy of the head is interconnected. Children with frequent colds and/or allergies struggle with stuffy, runny noses that just won’t quit. The abundance of extra snot leads to adjacent symptoms of earaches and sore throats because the excess backs up in these areas too.
Children can also have sinus infections, making it hard for them to breathe, sleep and enjoy discovering the world. Sinuses normally produce moistening mucus that clears the nasal passages, even from birth; but again, these are still under development. And when an immune response (from allergies, colds, etc.) triggers excess mucus production, clogs can happen here too:
- Near the bridge of the nose (ethmoid sinuses), which are present and growing from birth.
- Near the cheekbones (maxillary sinuses), present and growing from birth
- In the forehead (frontal sinuses), start developing around age seven.
- Deep behind the nose (sphenoid sinuses), develops during adolescence
When Should My Child See a Doctor for a Sore Throat?
Sore throats should be seen right away, especially if the child has a fever or is vomiting, has a rash or other symptoms of strep throat or other throat infections. Excess mucus draining from the nasal passages, sinuses and Eustachian tubes converges in one place: the throat. When bacteria-laden mucus drains down the throat, your child may be up all night with a cough and a sore throat. Abnormalities in throat tissue can also cause alarming breathing problems that need to be addressed right away.