We believe in providing optimal treatment to our patients, including children.
That is why we choose to complete every pediatric surgery at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This hospital has been named as one of the top pediatric hospitals in the entire country. They truly serve as a role model for all other pediatric hospitals in the United States.
Specialized care and treatment are provided by the caring doctors and nurses at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. They realize and understand that specialized support and equipment are needed to properly care for children. We prefer Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta over all others because we know they are committed to keeping young patients safe, while openly communicating with all family members and caregivers involved.
Your child’s health will surely be in excellent, caring hands.
At some point in time, children get sick— that is inevitable. However, when it comes to ENT problems, there are two pediatric ENT illnesses that are commonly diagnosed and treated: pediatric tonsillitis and pediatric sinusitis. We will explore both.
The pharyngeal tonsils are the glands at the back of the throat which you can visibly see when you open your mouth. If these glands become inflamed, then tonsillitis is usually diagnosed.
However, other areas in the back of the throat might also become inflamed if someone has tonsillitis. Other areas include the adenoids and the lingual tonsils (the tonsil tissue at the back of the tongue).
A patient can experience any of the variations of tonsillitis, including:
When seeing your child’s ENT doctor, he or she will evaluate your child’s health history to identify which type of tonsillitis is present.
Oftentimes, when a child is diagnosed with tonsillitis, there may be several causes. A few of the most common reasons for pediatric tonsillitis include:
More specifically, tonsillitis can be caused by bacteria called streptococcus species. Furthermore, acute pharyngitis and acute tonsillitis are most commonly caused by:
As a matter of fact, bacteria causes approximately 15-30% of pharyngotonsillitis cases.
Just about all children within the United States experience tonsillitis at least one time throughout their childhood. However, the medical industry keeps improving its’ medications, diagnoses, and treatment options (medical and surgical treatments). That is precisely why major tonsillitis complications (like mortality) are rare.
Symptoms differ depending on which type of tonsillitis you have.
Symptoms of acute tonsillitis:
Furthermore, if a patient experiences airway obstruction (because of swollen tonsils), he or she may also experience sleep apnea (including snoring, mouth breathing, or nocturnal breathing pauses). If this is the case, malaise and lethargy are commonly experienced. These type of symptoms usually dissipate in 3-4 days (with some symptoms lasting up to 2 weeks despite therapy).
Symptoms of chronic tonsillitis:
Symptoms of peritonsillar abscess:
When your child comes in for an appointment, a general ear, nose, and throat examination will be conducted. In addition, the ENT doctor will review his or her health history, as well as conducting a physical examination.
If a child has tonsillitis, the ENT doctor might find the following during a physical exam:
Based on the symptoms, health history, and the underlying causes, the ENT physician will determine which treatment method is best.
Antibiotics are the typical treatment option to get rid of tonsillitis. It is also very important to replace fluids and to minimize the patient’s pain. In very severe cases of tonsillitis, hospitalization may be needed, particularly if airway obstruction is apparent.
If a child repeatedly gets diagnosed with tonsillitis (recurrent tonsillitis), then the ENT doctor might recommend surgically removing the tonsils.
For patients suffering from a peritonsillar abscess, he or she may need more urgent treatment to drain the abscess.
The maxillary (behind the cheek) and ethmoid (between the eyes) sinuses are present at birth, even though they are very small. Your son or daughter’s sinuses do not fully develop until they are in their late teenage years.
Throughout the first several years of childhood, children are prone to infections of the ears, nose, and sinus. The infections are commonly caused by viral infections (the common cold).
However, the infections may be aggravated and symptoms exacerbated by allergies. If you notice that your child continues to remain sick beyond 10 days, a sinus infection may be the culprit.
Reducing the risk of sinus infections (sinusitis) is a common goal for caregivers and parents. You can reduce their risk by:
It is important to remember that pediatric sinusitis is different than sinusitis in adults.
It is very important for your pediatric ENT doctor to thoroughly evaluate your child’s symptoms. Pediatric sinusitis is often difficult to diagnose in children because symptoms can be caused by other common problems, such as allergies or viral illness.
If your child has a sinus infection, he or she may experience the following symptoms:
If your child suffers from one or more symptoms of sinusitis for at least 12 weeks, then he or she might have chronic sinusitis (recurrent episodes of acute sinusitis).
If your child gets a sinus infection more than 4-6 times per year, this is an indication that you should seek help from a pediatric ENT doctor (an otolaryngologist).
When your child comes in for his or her appointment, our ENT doctors will examine the ears, nose, and throat. In addition, we will review his or her symptoms and health history. Oftentimes we need to use special instruments to look inside of the nose. At times we may need to order a CT Scan to determine how developed your child’s sinuses are, confirm the diagnosis, and/or determine where any nasal blockage is occurring.
Your ENT doctor can also evaluate certain factors that make your child more susceptible to pediatric sinusitis.
Such factors include:
Proper evaluation and testing lead to an accurate diagnosis so we can provide effective treatment.
Treatment options for pediatric sinusitis differ. Treatment for acute sinusitis differs from treatment for chronic sinusitis. We’ll outline both.
Treatment for acute sinusitis:
For pediatric acute sinusitis, symptoms should improve within the first few days of starting treatment. Even if the symptoms fade away, it is very important to complete the entire antibiotic treatment, as prescribed by your ENT physician.
If for some reason your child’s allergies or other conditions make the sinus infection worse, he or she will decide a different course of treatment (i.e. different medications, etc).
It is important to note that over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants are generally NOT effective in treating viral upper respiratory infections in children. The role of these two medications are not well defined in the treatment for pediatric sinusitis either. These two medications should NOT be given to children who are younger than 2 years old.
Treatment for chronic sinusitis:
Surgery is needed for only a small percentage of children who are diagnosed with severe or chronic sinusitis (despite medical therapy). If medical therapy fails for some reason, surgical therapy is a safe and effective way to treat sinus disease in children.
If surgery is needed, the ENT doctor will use an endoscope to open the natural drainage pathway of the sinuses. He or she may also make the narrow passages wider. This process allows for culturing, which means that antibiotics can be directed to the specific areas. This procedure (of opening the sinuses and permitting air to circulate) results in a reduction in the frequency and the severity of sinus infections in kids.
There are times when an ENT doctor may recommend removing the adenoid tissue (located behind the nose). If the adenoid tissue becomes infected (called adenoiditis), it can cause many of the symptoms that are similar to sinusitis— bad breath, cough, headache, stuffy nose, runny nose, and post-nasal drip.
If you notice that your child is suffering from the symptoms talked about in this article, seek help right away before symptoms get worse. Call either of our ENT offices in Johns Creek/Suwanee, GA or Lawrenceville, GA. We will schedule an appointment so your child can receive proper treatment and start feeling better in no time.