Contents in this article:
- Common ear, nose, and throat infections
- How to help prevent allergies
- How to treat common colds and allergies at home
- When should a doctor be consulted
Paediatric ear, nose, and throat (ENT) problems are commonplace with children. Some experts believe the reason this happens so often in children is because many parts associated with the ENT region are not fully developed and also their immune systems are still developing, therefore, they are prone to infections. Another reason attributed to this is allergies.
Children’s ENT ailments can range from colds and flu to allergies and ear aches, but some ENT conditions do require more urgent attention, and so it is important to know what these conditions are, so as to get treatment as soon as possible when necessary.
Common Ear, Nose, and Throat Infections
At some point every child is faced with an ear infection. Ear infections are as common as cold and could be quite difficult to detect in children. Almost all ear infections are middle ear infections. In this case, upper respiratory tract infections make their way up and infect the middle ear causing pain, fever, and in some cases, hearing loss. Sometimes though, allergies are to blame for an ear infection, especially in children younger than 2 years.
If your child has an ear infection, it may be difficult to detect.
Here are some symptoms to look out for if you suspect an ear infection
- Eating and drinking abnormally
- Pulling on the ears regularly. Your child may often pull on the infected ear and become irritable
- Pain. The most common symptom of an ear infection is pain. Older children can tell you that their ears hurt. Younger children may only seem irritable and cry. You may notice this more during feedings because sucking and swallowing may cause painful pressure changes in the middle ear.
- Loss of appetite. Your child may have less of an appetite because of the ear pain.
- Trouble sleeping. Your child may have trouble sleeping because of the ear pain.
- Failure to respond or startle at loud noises
Some other reasons your child’s ears may hurt besides an infection could be:
- A sore throat
- Inflammation of the eardrum
- An infection of the skin of the ear canal
Sore Throats: Two common throat problems in children are tonsillitis and pharyngitis. The difference in the two is that pharyngitis specifically affects the throat while tonsillitis affects the tonsils. Both conditions can lead to infections and inflammation in the throat, and often anti-inflammatory medications can treat them. Sometimes, however, sore throats are simply caused by allergies. Allergies can cause too much mucus to form, causing a post-nasal drip (a nose drip down the back of the throat).
Sinusitis: This occurs when a germ finds its way to the area surrounding one’s eyes and nose causing inflammation, pressure, and pain. Common symptoms include frequent nasal discharge, nasal blockage, and cough. Sometimes, in cases where symptoms persists even after antibiotics, then an allergy if suspected to be the cause. Chronic sinusitis is sometimes an inflammatory disorder caused by untreated allergies or conditions, such as bronchial asthma. Sinusitis can last from weeks to years if left untreated.
- nasal discharge
Rhinitis: Sometimes referred to as hay fever, is a common ENT problem in children. It is sometimes seasonal or year round. According to experts, it can be caused by allergies, along with certain foods. Symptoms associated with rhinitis include; nasal congestion, nasal discharge, sleep problems, skin rashes, and fatigue.
How to help prevent allergies and cold
- Experts have advised that when caring for infants, avoiding excessive cleanliness is key.A growing number of professionals believe that exposing infants to germs may help them develop stronger defenses against illnesses like allergies later on in life.
- Breastfeeding has also been found to enhance the immune systems of babies and children.
- Eating a balanced, healthy diet is also important.
- Avoid giving antibiotics to children unless prescribed by a professional.
How to care for a child exhibiting the symptoms of allergies
- First and foremost minimize the child’s exposure to dust and dusty items like toys, bed sheets, rugs, carpets, curtains and so on.
- Changing bedding regularly also helps
- Make sure the child takes lots of fluids
- If possible, give Vitamin C
When to see a doctor
Do not overlook symptoms of ENT issues. It can lead to unnecessary pain and discomfort. You should definitely see a doctor if your child is experiencing any of these
- Difficulty swallowing fluids for more than a day
- A temperature that stays at 40°C and above
- Seizures or fits
- A rash
- A cough lasting more than a fortnight
- A stiff neck or bad headaches, which could be a sign of something more serious
Allergies (particularly of the nose) can affect sleep, behaviour, and overall well being of a child. Recognizing the allergy is the first step towards effective treatment and can actually help to improve these symptoms.