Coughs! Sneezes! Ear Aches!
Your Winter Welcoming Committee
Cooler weather and more time indoors add up to ear, nose and throat problems for kids (and grown-ups as well). Most of the time, time takes care of the problem and it will go away by itself. At other times, though, an infection may cause other problems and a doctor -- usually an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT doctor or otolaryngologist) may need to step in to help.
The sinuses are airspaces inside the bones of the face. Their job is to warm the air we breathe and keep it moist, but the warm, damp environment is home to many kinds of bacteria.
If the lining of the sinuses swells from allergies or colds, they cause drainage problems, infection and pain. Antibiotics are usually effective, but on occasion, simple “minimally invasive” surgery may be needed to restore drainage.
Middle ear infections
The tiny bones in the middle ear move against each other and the eardrum to transmit sounds to the brain. During an infection, uid builds up in the middle ear and can become infected, permanently damaging the bones and resulting in permanent hearing loss. A myringotomy, or placement of tiny tubes to drain out any fluid, can prevent permanent hearing loss from repeated infections.
Tonsillitis and adenoiditis
Tonsils and adenoids are small collections of cells which help your immune system take care of any viral or bacterial invaders. Sometimes, however, they may enlarge so that breathing and sleep problems arise.
As with other ENT problems, medications often take care of the illness quickly and easily, but
children who have hard-to-treat or repeated tonsil and/or adenoid infections may need surgery to remove them. This procedure is called a “T&A”, for tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.
Brian Fishero, MD
“A great advantage of having a tube is the ability to directly treat ear infections with drops instead of oral antibiotics (thus reducing your child’s exposure to systemic antibiotics). Also, diagnosing ear infections is more straightforward since they present as foul ear drainage instead of subtle symptoms such as low grade fever, ear tugging or fussiness.”
Matthew Bridges, MD
“Kids can be vulnerable to upper respiratory infections, especially when they are introduced to new situations with new friends. The immune system needs exposure to new viruses and other infections so that it ‘learns’ how to ght them the next time they come around!”