We treat many pediatric ear, nose, and throat disorders. These services include allergies, sinus disorders, tonsil and adenoid disorders and placement of myringotomy tubes.
On this page:
- Pediatric Sinusitus
- Tonsils and Adenoids
- Otitis Media
- Myringotomy Tubes
Sinusitis means your sinuses are infected or inflamed. Your sinuses are hollow air spaces within the bones surrounding the nose. They produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If your nose is swollen, this can block the sinuses and cause pain and infection.
Sinusitis can be acute, lasting for less than four weeks, or chronic, lasting much longer. Acute sinusitis often starts as a cold, which then turns into a bacterial infection. Allergies, pollutants, nasal problems and certain diseases can also cause sinusitis.
Symptoms of sinusitis can include fever, weakness, fatigue, cough and congestion. There may also be mucus drainage in the back of the throat, called postnasal drip. Treatments include antibiotics, decongestants and pain relievers. Using heat pads on the inflamed area, saline nasal sprays and vaporizers can also help.
Tonsils and Adenoids
Your tonsils and adenoids are part of your lymphatic system. Your tonsils are in the back of your throat and your adenoids are higher up, behind your nose. Tonsil and adenoid help educate your immune system when you are a newborn baby. By six months of age your immune system is mature and the role that tonsils and adenoid play beyond this point in development is unclear. Sometimes your tonsils and adenoids become infected themselves. Tonsillitis makes your tonsils sore and swollen. Enlarged adenoids can be sore, make it hard to breathe and cause ear problems.
The first treatment for infected tonsils and adenoids is antibiotics. If you have frequent infections or trouble breathing, you may need surgery. Surgery to remove the tonsils is tonsillectomy. Surgery to remove adenoids is adenoidectomy.
Ear Infections in Children
Ear infections are the most common illnesses in babies and young children. Most often, the infection affects the middle ear and is called otitis media. Eustachian tubes connect the middle portion of the ear to the back of the throat. These tubes often stop functioning as a result of an upper respiratory infection (cold or flu). Once this happens, a pressure and subsequent fluid “backup” occurs in the middle ear. This can affect hearing, because sound cannot get through all that fluid.
If your child does not yet talk, you need to look for signs of an infection:
- Tugging at ears
- Crying more than usual
- Ear drainage
- Trouble sleeping
- Balance difficulties
- Hearing problems
Often, ear infections go away on their own, but your health care provider may recommend pain relievers. Severe infections and infections in young babies may require antibiotics. Children who get frequent infections may need surgery to place small tubes inside their ears. The tubes relieve pressure in the ears so that the child can hear again.
To keep a middle ear infection from coming back, it helps to limit some of the factors that might put your child at risk, such as not being around people who smoke and not going to bed with a bottle. In spite of these precautions, some children may continue to have middle ear infections, sometimes as many as five or six a year. Your doctor may want to wait for several months to see if things get better on their own but, if the infections keep coming back and antibiotics aren't helping, many doctors will recommend a surgical procedure that places a small ventilation tube in the eardrum to improve air flow and prevent fluid backup in the middle ear. The most commonly used tubes stay in place for six to nine months and require follow-up visits until they fall out.
If placement of the tubes still doesn't prevent infections, a doctor may consider removing the adenoids to prevent infection from spreading to the eustachian tubes.