If your child has allergies and only sees a pediatrician, you may want to consider taking them to an otolaryngologist—known as an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT). While pediatricians can certainly help your child, ENTs specialize in many disorders that are caused by allergies. If your child is having allergy-related symptoms and over-the-counter drugs aren't helping, contact a child medical specialist with ENT training. Here are some ways an ENT can help your child.
They Will Know When More Invasive Options Are Required
The adenoids and tonsils are lymphatic tissues in the oral cavity that act as one of the body's first lines of defense. These tissues contain immune-boosting white blood cells that fight viruses and bacteria that enter through the nose or mouth.
However, the adenoids and tonsils tend to be larger in children and shrink at about age 12. Because these tissues are larger in children, they can sometimes obstruct the airway—especially for children with allergies. And if a child is allergy-prone, his or her lymphatic tissues may be overtaxed and become infected.
Sometimes adenoid and tonsil removal is necessary. An ENT is a valuable resource, since many are trained in this kind of surgery. If your child has difficulty or pain swallowing, difficulty breathing through the nose, frequent sore throats, and tissue infections, an ENT can help you figure out if these problems can be solved through surgery.
They Can Help Your Child Get Better Rest
While runny noses and sore throats are the main symptoms of many allergies, fatigue is another one to be on the lookout for. If your child is constantly congested, he or she could actually develop sleep apnea. Fatigue can affect your child's energy levels and make school and extra-curricular activities awful. Furthermore, if your child only breathes through his or her mouth, then he or she could develop dental problems, such as dry mouth.
Your ENT can help you figure out the root cause of the fatigue. If your child does have sleep apnea, an ENT can perform an uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). During this procedure, extra tssue in the soft palate is removed and the airway is opened.
They Can Help Your Child's Hearing and Speech Development
Middle ear infections are quite common in young children. If your child has allergies, then it is easier for mucous and fluid to build up behind the eardrum and cause pressure. Your child's allergy symptoms may cause a temporary hearing loss. Sometimes infections can cause small perforations in the ear drum. The skin usually repairs itself as the infection resolves. However, if your child has many infections from allergies, then he or she could develop a cholesteatoma.
A cholesteatoma is skin that has been repeatedly perforated, so it grows into cyst that pushes out from the ear canal to the middle ear. This cyst is dangerous because it can actually erode middle ear bones and damage your child's hearing permanently. While surgery is a last resort, an ENT can remove the diseased tissue and repair the eardrum.
Along with helping your child's hearing, an ENT can help your child's speech development. If a child has enlarged tissues in the oral cavity from allergies, he or she may develop a tongue thrust. Not only does tongue thrusting cause sleep difficulties, it can affect how a young child learns how to speak. Your ENT can diagnose your child if he or she has this issue and then recommend treatments, like speech therapy.
They Can Provide Shots to Treat Asthmatic Systems
WebMD says that 90% of kids with asthma also have allergies. And it makes sense; there are so many allergens out there that can trigger breathing difficulties. Food ingredients, mold, pet dander, pollen, dust mites, etc., can all cause asthmatic symptoms.
An ENT can offer immunotherapy, like allergy shots. These shots will help your child get used to allergens that trigger their symptoms. The shots aren't a cure-all, but they can greatly help your child manage his or her symptoms. Your doctor can also do comprehensive allergy testing to make sure that your child is getting all the necessary shots.
Contact a child medical specialist at a medical center like Southern Family Medicine Inc in your local area for more information.