Why does my child experience frequent ear infections?
Ear infections occur when there is a blockage in the Eustachian tube, which permits fluid to build up in the inner ear and become infected. Children are prone to ear infections due to the size and shape of the Eustachian tube, which is still developing, and their frequent exposure to viruses and germs in daycare and school settings.
How can I treat my child’s ear infection?
If your child is experiencing an ear infection, see a doctor to determine the cause. Antibiotics are necessary for bacterial infections. If the cause is viral, you can ease the pain by applying a warm washcloth to the affected ear and using over-the-counter eardrops for pain. Do not give your child aspirin, as this has been linked to Reye’s syndrome in children.
My child’s doctor is recommending ear tubes. What are these and why are they necessary?
Children who experience frequent ear infections may be candidates for ear tubes. These are hollow tubes that are placed in the ears surgically to ventilate and drain built-up fluid. This prevents infections from occurring and eliminates the danger of permanent hearing loss from repeat episodes.
My child’s tonsils are red, swollen and have grayish patches. Is this serious?
Your child is suffering from a tonsil infection, a common malady that occurs when a virus or bacteria invades the tonsils. It can be caused by a number of factors, including colds, influenza and bacteria. Most tonsil infections are not serious and clear up on their own. However, they are often associated with strep throat, a bacterial infection that must be treated with antibiotics. Occasionally, surgery to remove the tonsils is recommended, but this is reserved for severe or recurrent cases.
My child has a cold that won’t go away. What can I do about this?
If your child is experiencing cold-like symptoms that last longer than 10 to 14 days or recur frequently, he or she may be suffering from a chronic sinus infection known as sinusitis. This is a common condition that affects millions of Americans every year. Your child’s doctor can run tests to verify that allergies or other diseases aren’t to blame and will prescribe a treatment plan that may include antihistamines, decongestants, saline drops, antibiotics or surgery.
My child has been diagnosed with asthma. How is this treated?
Asthma is common in children, and while there is no cure, it is easily managed using a two-step approach. Long-term control medications to prevent symptoms from flaring up are taken daily, and rescue (quick relief) medications are used for immediate relief during an asthma attack. Because the triggers that can cause asthma change over time, regular doctor’s appointments are recommended.
My child snores loudly every night. Should I be concerned?
Approximately 10 percent of children snore regularly. This occurs when excess throat tissue blocks the airways. It’s not always a serious condition, but if your child snores loudly – especially if the snoring is accompanied by gasping, choking or thrashing in bed – then you should schedule an appointment with a doctor or ENT specialist. It could be the sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that is marked by gaps in breathing and can lead to serious developmental and health issues.
Call North Alabama ENT Associates at (256) 536-9300 for more information or to schedule an appointment.