Our ears, nose, and throat are connected by pathways that make it easier for viruses and bacteria to move between them. If an issue occurs in one of these organs, the others may experience symptoms too. This is referred to as an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) condition. ENT problems are extremely common, and children are more prone to these illnesses because many parts of their ENT network are not fully developed and cannot function properly. They are also more likely to fall sick because of their exposure to more germs in a preschool environment. 

Of the many ENT conditions that people may suffer from, there are a few common ones that children may experience frequently. These issues, however minor, should not be left untreated as they can hinder your child’s growth and development, and may even lead to life-threatening conditions. Want to learn more about the most common ENT problems in children and how to identify them? Read on to find out. 

1. Ear Infections

Ear infections are more common in children than in adults, and are more difficult to detect. It occurs when the eustachian tube—a small passageway that connects the middle ears to the back of the throat to help drain fluid and equalise the air pressure inside the ears—is clogged by fluid, mucus, bacteria, or other microbes. Here are subtle signs that indicate that your child might have an ear infection. 

2. Sore Throat

Sore throats cause pain, scratchiness, or irritation in the throat that worsens when you swallow. Most sore throats are caused by viruses such as pharyngitis (a viral infection), but some can stem from issues such as tonsillitis, or strep throat—a less common form of sore throat caused by bacteria. It can be hard to tell if your child has a sore throat, especially if they are still unable to express themselves. Here are some signs to take note of. 

3. Sinusitis

Sinusitis can be an acute or chronic condition caused by a cold, flu virus, fungal infection, allergy, or others. It occurs when the hollow sinus cavities that surround your eyes and nose become inflamed and swollen. This obstructs proper drainage and causes the sinuses to become blocked and filled with liquid, causing inflammation, pressure, and pain due to the growth of germs and bacteria. For acute sinusitis, most people can get better on their own after a week or two even without sinusitis treatment. However, receiving medical care can help to manage the symptoms and speed up the recovery process. Here are the signs and symptoms of sinusitis in children. 

4. Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis occurs when exposure to allergens causes the inflammation and swelling of the inside of your nose. It is usually an acute condition that resolves within a few days, as long as you remove the allergen from your environment. Some signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

5. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes breathing disruptions during sleep. These interruptions can affect your child’s sleep quality and cause other issues when they’re awake. There are two types of sleep apnea—obstructive and central. The former occurs when your child’s airways are blocked by soft tissues, enlarged tonsils, or other issues such as a small jaw or an overbite, while the latter is caused by problems with your child’s central nervous system. Here are the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. 

Learn More: What is Sleep Apnea? Is it Harmful for my Child?

Children may not know how to express their feelings and may display signs of discomfort or illness in ways that are different from adults. Hence, it is important to pay attention to them in order to identify potential issues they may be suffering from. If you do notice any signs and symptoms of an ENT condition, do bring your child to an ENT specialist for a check. 

Looking for an ENT specialist clinic in Singapore? Dr Jenica Yong and her team provides comprehensive care to treat any ENT conditions through the use of evidence-based medicine. Book your medical appointment with us today

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