EAR, NOSE AND THROAT PROBLEMS
The ears nose and throat work together, and thus if there is an infection in one area, it often leads to a complication in another. Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) problems are extremely common in kids. Because young children's ears, nose and throat region isn't fully developed yet, infections of the ears, nose and throat ear are common for young children and often cause ear pain, frequent nasal discharge, nasal blockage, cough and sleepless nights.
From ear infections and constant croup to snotty noses and the common cold, children have a wide range of ears, nose and throat problems that can keep them and their parents up all night. A simple snotty nose can go from the nose to the ears, to the throat and lungs very quickly, so it's important to control these problems before they go to the chest and ears.
Ear infections – the most common of which is the middle ear infection. Upper respiratory tract infections often make their way to the ears and infect the middle of the ear canal causing pain, fever and in severe case, hearing loss. In some cases, allergies may be to blame making treatment a bit more complex.
Throat problems – tonsillitis and pharyngitis are the two most common in children. Problems with these areas cause infections and inflammation in the throat, and when caused by allergies, an excessive mucus build-up that leads to a nose drip down the back of the throat – which can enter the lungs.
Sinusitis – typically caused by an infection in the maxillary sinus, one of the four paranasal sinuses. Snotty blocked nose and coughing are often categorised as symptoms of sinus and may be caused by allergies.
Hay fever – otherwise known as allergic rhinitis, caused by a number of allergens leading to symptoms of nasal congestion, nasal discharge, sleep problems, fatigue, and skin rashes. These infections can affect a child all year round.
Because the ENT region is connected, these problems can be worrying as they can go the chest and affect breathing, feeding, and put the child's hearing at risk, if severe. Recurring problems of the ears nose and throat may be caused by allergies or due to a congenital defect in these regions. Defects such as swollen adenoids or tonsils, a crooked nasal septum or narrowing of the larynx or trachea can all impair breathing and cause constant problems in the ENT region. While treatment is the priority to ease unnecessary pain and discomfort, Dr Coetzee also emphasises the need to find out the cause of the problem as it is essential to prevent these problems from becoming chronic issues and affecting the child's quality of life.