CHILDREN’S OTOLARYNGOLOGY (ENT)
In the field of otolaryngology, the adult and children’s care is not so demarcated, it is important to emphasise however, that there is a difference in the incidence and frequency of the children’s ENT diseases compared to the adult ENT diseases. If a child is ill and is taken to the doctor, anxiety is almost always present. The very common symptoms such as sore throat, common cold, nose congestion, ear pain and fever along with sleepless nights cause discomfort and anxiety, as well as for the parents. It is particularly difficult when the child is too young to express him/herself. The specialist pursues to eliminate the feeling of “helplessness” from the parents and from the child. During the children’s ENT examination, the cause of the problem can be explored, the disease can be diagnosed and by the appropriate therapy it can finally be cured.
WHEN SHOULD I CONTACT A CHILDREN’S OTOLARYNGOLOGIST (ENT SPECIALIST)?
- If your child experiences acute inflammatory symptoms of the nose, the pharynx or the larynx, which can be caused by common cold, pharyngitis or even laryngitis.
- If your child experiences chronic inflammatory symptoms of the nose, the sinuses, the pharynx or the larynx, prolonged hoarseness, catarrhal cough, persistent nasal congestion or purulent nasal discharge, which can be caused among others by chronic tonsillitis.
- In case of suspected adenoid enlargement, with symptoms such as swollen nasal mucosa, difficulty with nasal breathing, persistent mouth breathing, serous nasal discharge.
- If the child experiences ear pain, ear congestion, ear discharge, hearing problems, ear canal inflammation or there is increased amount of cerumen in the ears.
- In case of speech development, phonation and swallowing disorders
- In case of persistent snoring or dizziness an otolaryngology specialist’s opinion is worth inquiring, as part of the complex diagnostic assessment.
- In case of swelling or lumps on the head-neck region.
- In case of any suspected allergic diseases
- Emergency cases (eg. foreign bodies, bleeding, ulcers, abscesses, etc) also require to contact an ENT specialist, as soon as possible.
Parents usually take their children to the ENT specialist most frequently in case of upper respiratory diseases, viral cold, pharyngitis and tonsillitis, catarrhal inflammation of the Eustachian tube and serous or purulent otitis media. The common occurrence of the above mentioned diseases is because of the immaturity of the immune system and the fact that the child starts to be integrated into the community. Allergic diseases are also frequently suspected also in childhood. Each disease has to be treated differently! The accurate diagnosis is of particular importance, which is the cornerstone of the appropriate therapy. It is important to contact a specialist as soon as possible, because they can create the appropriate and the most effective individual treatment plan. As with any other specialty, prevention is essential. ENT diseases should be prevented or quickly cured, thus preventing the chronic transformation of the disease.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING THE CHILDREN’S ENT EXAMINATION?The examination, in all cases, starts with getting to know each other during which the little patient’s anxiety is eliminated. The specialist discusses with the parents, in detail, the current or possible previous symptoms, medicines used and lifestyle. Depending on the affected area, the examinations listed below may take place following the review of the current symptoms:
- Review of the auricles and the area behind them and the examination of the external ear canals and tympanic membranes on both sides
- Device used: ear speculum
- If needed, the doctor may irrigate the child’s ear or aspirate the secretion
- NOSE and NASAL SINUSES:
- Visual observation of the shape of the nose, detecting possible deviations
- Internal examination of the nose, during which the possible lesions of the nasal mucosa can be detected
- Device used: nasal speculum and endoscope, if required
- If secretion sample is warranted, then it is aspirated and a culture is inoculated
- Examination of the sinuses whether they are sensitive to palpation
- Inspection of the oral cavity, examination of the pharyngeal structures and tonsils
- Device used: tongue depressor
- If it is required (eg. if secretion can be squeezed from the tonsils or a focal disease is suspected), a sample and a culture inoculation can also be performed
- LARYNX AND NASOPHARYNX:
- Inspection of the larynx, during which the tongue is carefully grasped by the help of a sterile gauze, while the child breathes by mouth
- Device used: a slightly heated small circular mirror appr. 20 mm in diameter on a long thin handle or a laryngoscope, if necessary
- During the examination of the larynx, the device is pressed on the back of the oral palate, while during the inspection of the nasopharynx, the mirror is pressed to the base of the tongue
- Palpation of the neck, the cervical lymph nodes and the parotid region.
WHAT KIND OF DEVICE IS USED FOR THE OTOLARYNGOLOGY EXAMINATION?At MeDoc Health Centre we have state of the art ATMOS S61 Servant ENT treatment unit and Schölly endoscopes.