Video

Dr Christian:
Ear, nose and throat infections are common in people of all ages, but young children are particularly susceptible because they have less developed immune systems.

The most common infection is of course the cold, which is caused by any one of hundreds of different viruses making it impossible to vaccinate against. The virus causes the nose and throat to become inflamed which produces lots of mucus or snot. This starts the gradual onset of sneezing, a blocked nose, sore throat, coughs and headaches. The symptoms usually last for about a week although in some cases it can be longer. Famously there is no cure for the common cold, but you can ask your doctor for mild pain killers to help ease the symptoms.

Another common and really unpleasant infection is seasonal flu and the symptoms are a lot more severe than a cold. Flu can hit suddenly and shares the symptoms of a severe common cold but on top of that it brings a feeling of total exhaustion and fatigue along with very some unpleasant body aches. If your child is suffering from flu make sure they get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. You may want to have a chat to your family doctor about ways to ease the symptoms.

OK so lets take a close look at infections of the throat. One of the most common throat infections in children is tonsillitis. This causes the glands at the back of the throat, known as the tonsils, to become infected and inflamed. The infection is mainly caused by a virus and it’s pretty common in children aged between 5 and 15. As well as swollen tonsils, some of the common symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, coughing, headaches and sometimes even vomiting. In extreme cases, a child’s breathing may be affected, and abscesses can start to appear on the tonsils and if this occurs then contact your doctor as soon as possible. In most cases it should only last for about 10 days, and symptoms should clear themselves up although if it’s a bacterial infection antibiotics may be needed. In more severe cases where tonsillitis occurs frequently the tonsils can be removed surgically although this happens less often these days.

One thing that you should be aware of is that the symptoms of tonsillitis can be very similar to those of glandular fever, a much more serious condition. It shares many of the same symptoms, though they’re often more severe, along with other signs like tell tale inflammation of the lymph glands in the neck and in the armpits. It can stick around in the body for months, causing fatigue and there are some potentially serious complications. It can also recur from time to time many years later and is can be a very debilitating condition.

Other common problems include infection of the adenoid glands, found just above the tonsils. When the adenoid glands get infected they enlarge causing problems such as difficulty breathing, loud snoring, sleep problems and a horrid condition called glue ear which is where a build up of thick mucus blocks the inside of the ear causing temporary difficulty in hearing. If the Adenoids are seriously affecting a child’s health then they can be removed with a simple surgical procedure.

Infections can also occur lower down in the airways too an example of which is Bronchitis. Bronchitis occurs when the airways of the lungs become infected and inflamed. It can cause breathlessness and wheezing, sometimes with a slight fever and sinus problems too. The symptoms usually clear up on their own within about 3 weeks but sometimes your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Smoke can be a cause of bronchitis, so it goes without saying that parents should not be smoking around their children as it can lead to all sorts of respiratory problems.

Sometimes the top of the nose can get infected causing a problem called Sinusitis. The air filled spaces in the face and the head become infected and uncomfortable, usually leading to a blocked or runny nose with along with a bad cough, fever, bad breath, irritability and headache. Sinusitis usually clears up on its own although your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or a steroid nasal spray if it’s a bacterial infection.

And finally, the ears. Middle ear infections occur in the area just behind the eardrum. This area is normally filled with air but when infected it fills with fluid which can cause pain. As you would imagine, the symptoms include quite severe earache and also a slight deafness, along with fever and flu like symptoms and in some cases the ear may perforate, causing pus to run out of the ear. Most of these infections will clear up in a few days but in severe cases your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Paracetamol can be useful for bringing down fevers and helping with pain but it’s important that you never give your child aspirin as it can cause a severe reaction.

With any Ear Nose and Throat infection it’s important to give your child plenty of fluids and make sure they can get lots of rest. Ignoring symptoms can lead to more serious conditions. They can be quite tricky things to diagnose so if you have any worries or any doubts then contact your GP or call NHS direct.

Read the video transcript

Due to possessing less developed immune systems, children are particularly susceptible to ear, nose and throat infections; which Dr Christian here discusses in detail. Starting off with the virus that causes the cold, before moving on to discuss the seasonal flu, throat infections, tonsillitis, glandular fever, problems with the adenoid glands, bronchitis, sinusitis, and finally middle ear infections; Dr Christian reveals the types and lengths of symptoms, as well as the available cures and remedies. If you think your child may be suffering from an ear, nose or throat infection, always remember to give them lots of fluids and ensure they get plenty of rest. And finally, if you have any worries, don’t hesitate to contact your GP, or call NHS Direct. Ignoring symptoms of ENT infections can often worsen and prolong the illness.

Images used:
Welleschik

Please visit Patient UK to find out more about the following:
Tonsillitis
Sort Throat
Antibiotics – Why No Antibiotic?
Common Cold
Coughs and Colds in Children
Tonsils and Adenoids

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my 9 year old son has been diagnosed with tonsilitis and prescribed a ten day course of penicillin v 250, he is breathless on movement and really sleepy is this normal or should i be worried





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Iam 65 years old and have nose block problum since 1980s. Used many tipes of sprays and drops and take antibiotics. some time its Better and some time bloclks and always to use Otrivine nose drops without this can not breath well.I wante to know what actualy have and which kind of sinus i have and some time come infaction and my teeths get pain and after take intibiotics get better.





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Hi, my daughter is 5 yr old and she catches cold/ or similar infections very often. When she has fever it usually very high 40-41. She normally gets antibiotic which makes her better, but I`m concerned she`ll develop allergies later in life. She also snores very loud, even when she`s well. GP done some tests ( urine and blood) and everything came back negative. Why is she getting ill so often? She`s on antibiotic almost every 3 months. She doesn`t eat all food ( such as most meat, all pasta, all rice, etc. )either due to food sensory issues. She was diagnosed with complex social communication disorder a few months ago. She often wets herself, because she`s scared of noises in the toilets ( even in school). She has lots of other sensory issues, but right now I`m concerned about her being sick so often and taking antibiotic.





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Try a probiotic. I recomend three lac by ght ( global health trax ). It's a cure all. Hope her health improves!

My 3 year old daughter has very large tonsils and snores really loudly. She seems to be almost gasping for breath at night and is very restless. The doctor says she will grow out of this, but i am still worried. I am not sure if i should be asking for a second opinion.





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my 3 year old son has had symptoms of a cold for the past 2 years, runny nose, chesty cough,congestion,ear trouble.... we have taken him to the doctors, and we are told he will just out grow it, it makes him very tiered and miserable. we have been told it could be an allergy to something? help us help him please.





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at the beginning of each cold, he will go through 1 maybe 2 nights where he really struggles to breath! one time we had to call the ambulance out, because he was that bad, it turned out to be an ear infection,but the said if we had left it any longer he would have started to fit....... its just really unfair for him, as he is never without a cold, and we dont no what to do! we were told it could be an allergy to something. but no, he has not suffered with broncilitus.

My son was like this and it was due to his adenoids being to larg and bloking the back of his nose, he had them out at 3 years and was so happy after his breathing was so much better and infections cleared up.

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Anyone had their adenoids removed? M daughter has to have hers out in a couple of weeks. I;m telling her its nothing to worry about - juts want to check i'm not lying!





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Mt daughter has had this surgery at 4 and a half years old (almong with some other things done at the same time and bounced back so quickly, she was eating just 4 hours post op, was home the next day and off all pain meds by 5 days. She needed to stay of school for close to 2 weeks but only because of the risk of her getting an infection. Your right, your not lying to her, she will do just fine I am sure, take lots of things to the hospital for her to do while you wait to keep her mind off whats to come and some special things for her to have after. Good luck although I am sure you don't need it!


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