One of the most challenging parts of being a parent is providing for your child’s health care needs. Our children are one of the precious things we have in our life. All we want is to give them the best. It breaks our hearts seeing our children suffering and in pain. This is why, when they don’t feel well, we seek consultation from a doctor or specialist immediately.
In Singapore, one of the primary reasons why parents have their children visit a doctor is because of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) problems. Ear infections and enlarged tonsils are the most common ENT problems found in children in Singapore every year. That is why an ENT doctor in Singapore such as those working at entspecialistsingapore.com plays an important role in a child’s health care especially in treating various ENT disorders.
Dr Dennis Chua is one of the best ENT doctors in Singapore. He is an ear, nose and throat specialist with a sub-speciality focus in plastic and reconstructive surgery. He has more than 15 years of medical experience in treating ENT patients with breathing issues such as sleep apnea, snoring problems, sinus diseases, thyroid diseases, pediatric allergies, snoring, tonsillitis, ear infections, and facial plastics and reconstructive surgery.
He is currently a visiting consultant to KK’s Women and Children Hospital and was able to encounter several ENT paediatrics conditions. Allergies, snoring, sleep apnea, acute and chronic tonsillitis and otitis media with effusion are some common ENT disorders of his pediatric patients.
In this article, he explains to us these common childhood ENT disorders so that parents will have an idea and know what to do in case one of these ENT disorders happen to their child.
Allergies and Rhinitis
Nasal allergies and nasal obstructions are very common conditions in Singapore, especially in children. Blocked nose, runny nose, rubbing of eyes and nose, and frequent sneezing are some signs of allergies. If you see symptoms like these, bring the child to an ENT doctor in Singapore as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
To look for more possible allergens, I do a skin prick test to my patients. It is a painless test and the results will be ready within 30 minutes. Most of the patients who were positive on the skin prick test are usually found to be allergic to house dust mites. I advise parents to start with their surroundings. Here is a short checklist for allergens avoidance:
- Always keep the bedroom clean
- Change bed sheets every week and wash them in hot water
- Sunning bed sheets for at least 3 hours
- Reduce soft toys in bed
- Clean curtains regularly
- Use of air purifier to prevent dust mites from getting back to the air
Allergic rhinitis can lead to childhood asthma if not treated early. I usually prescribe Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) to some of my patients to stop the ‘atopic march’. It is a form of immunotherapy that involves putting liquid drops or a tablet of allergen extracts under the tongue. It is an alternative treatment for allergy shots. The drops work by allowing the immune system to tolerate the allergen as soon as the sublingual allergy drops to reach the gastrointestinal tract.
Recurrent Acute Tonsillitis or Chronic Tonsillitis
I was able to deal with several cases of tonsillitis or tonsillar enlargement in children, and as much as possible I do not require surgery. Tonsillitis (infection of the tonsils) is a common infection during childhood – mostly in ages between 5 to 15 years old. A child with tonsillitis has symptoms like fever, difficulty or pain in swallowing, sore throat, loss of appetite, chills, headaches and bad breath.
Tonsils help our body fight infection by producing white blood cells. However, it can also be vulnerable to bacteria and viruses that enter our bodies. Most of the time, tonsillitis is caused by a virus like the common cold or bacterial infection. I usually prescribe antibiotics if necessary and advise my patients to stay hydrated and get enough rest. However, if my patient has frequent attacks of tonsillitis, I recommend getting a tonsillectomy.
Tonsillectomy is a surgery to remove tonsils. The surgery can help reduce the number of throat infections in children. It also alleviates the trouble in swallowing and breathing problems. You can go home after the surgery and it will take 1-2 weeks to fully recover.
Snoring or Sleep Apnea
Snoring regularly and loudly is not normal in children. It can be a sign of an allergy, stuffy nose, respiratory infection or it can be a symptom of sleep apnea. There is also a possibility of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) if the child snores and gasps for breath, which can cause general health problems. If this is not treated it can cause behaviour problems, poor academic performance, bed-wetting, and cardio-pulmonary disease.
Tonsillitis and adenoids are some of the causes of OSA, as they can obstruct breathing. An adenoidectomy or tonsillectomy can effectively restore the child’s breathing pattern and cures OSA. But if the child has Down Syndrome, obesity, neuromuscular diseases, or mucopolysaccharidoses, a sleep study is recommended before surgery.
Otitis Media with Effusion
Otitis media with effusion (OME) is a collection of fluid in the middle ear. It is more common in children between 6 months and 3 years of age. Sore throat, cold or upper respiratory infection with a poor function of the Eustachian tube causes this fluid to accumulate in the middle ear. OME can affect the speech development of the child and can result in hearing loss. I do a physical examination first to assess the condition and, if needed, I require a hearing test. The treatment depends on the child’s condition but mostly it includes antibiotics to treat the infection and a nasal decongestant to drain the fluid.
I believe that parenting is the hardest job ever especially if our child is sick. That is why it is important to seek consultation right away if we see signs and symptoms of ENT disorders from our children. Many good ENT doctors in Singapore can help us or we can get in touch with Dr Dennis Chua for consultation and treatment.
Dr Dennis Chua – ENT Specialist Singapore
3 Mount Elizabeth, #08-02 Medical Centre,
+65 6235 3886