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When to take your child to a specialist for their ear, nose or throat problems.

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Parents and caregivers often take children to the pediatrician due to problems related to their ears, nose or throat. That’s because there are a lot of common illnesses that cause a runny nose, congestion, sore throat, cough or earache. But how do you know when it’s time for your child to see a doctor who specializes in these parts of the body?

“If your child is suffering from any of these conditions, the ENTs at the Baton Rouge Clinic are here to help!  Located within the Pediatric Clinic building, we are often available for same- or next-day appointments to get your child better quickly.”

-Elliot Hardy, MD, ENT

ENTs are specially trained to assess and treat issues affecting children’s ears, noses and throats. They aren’t needed for run-of-the-mill illnesses that kids are bound to get throughout the year. But it may be time to pay one a visit if your child has any of these recurring issues:

    • Chronic ear infections – This is one of the most common reasons kids see an ENT. Young children, especially under age 5, are more prone to ear infections because fluid doesn’t drain out of the ear well. Chronic ear infections cause pain and discomfort. They may interfere with a child’s hearing and speech. They’re also the cause of excessive antibiotic use. If needed, a minor surgery can be performed to place small tubes in the eardrum to help fluid drain better.
    • Repeated throat infections – If your child often has strep throat, tonsillitis or other infections affecting the throat, it’s a good idea to have an ENT take a look. In many cases, enlarged tonsils and adenoids are to blame. This causes bacteria to be trapped, resulting in repeated infections that can make your child feel miserable. Surgery to remove the tonsils and adenoids may be recommended.
    • Constant nasal congestion – If your child has a stuffy nose all the time or has multiple sinus infections in a year, it may be time to take a trip to the ENT. A deviated septum may be causing issues with nasal drainage, leading to congestion or infection. Allergies may also be to blame. Medication is usually the first line of defense against constant nasal congestion.
    • Snoring or breathing disturbances during sleep – Some children breathe heavily through their mouths or snore during sleep. This could be a sign of sleep apnea. Although most people think of sleep apnea as something that affects older or overweight adults, it may also affect children. This is usually due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids, which can be removed surgically if necessary.
    • Nosebleeds – Younger kids are more prone to nosebleeds than older kids, teens or adults. If they occur occasionally, they may be due to dry air, allergies, a cold or the child picking his or her nose. But if they happen more than once a week or the bleeding is heavy, there could be something else going on and an ENT can get to the bottom of it. In some cases, a simple cauterizing of the blood vessels in the nose is all that’s needed to stop this pesky problem.

Conditions that repeatedly affect a child’s ear, nose or throat can impact quality of life as well as speech, learning and development. That’s why it’s worth a visit to a ENT if your child has any recurrent or chronic issues.

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Date Last Reviewed: December 13, 2022

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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