By Martin Janning, MD, Outreach Specialist at GRHS: Ear, Nose & Throat Physician & Sleep Specialist
Pediatric ear, nose, and throat (ENT) disorders remain among the primary reasons children visit a physician according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Most physicians are prepared to handle an ear infection or runny nose, but how do you know when your child needs to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist?
In addition to recurring cold symptoms and ear infections, ENT specialists often evaluate and treat children who snore. A snoring child may be funny, but it may not be a laughing matter.
- Does your child snore regularly? Around 10 percent of children snore three or more nights a week.
- Does your child gasp, snort, or has pauses in breathing that last longer than 5 seconds?
- Do these interruptions in breathing happen after the child has been snoring?
- Does your child tend to wake up frequently at night?
- Does your child wake up with his head at the foot of the bed? Children who have restless sleep tend to move around in bed or sleep in abnormal positions may mean they have had interruptions in their breathing or have had a round of snoring that has interrupted their sleep.
- Does your child sweat profusely during the night?
- Is your child extremely hard to wake up in the morning?
- During the day, is your child excessively sleepy or irritable, cranky, or aggressive? This is a sign your child may not be getting enough sleep due to breathing interruptions or frequent waking during the night.
- Does your child struggle with learning, behavioral, or social problems?
When a child snores persistently, it is not a cause for immediate concern but warrants further evaluation by an ENT doctor. A good place to start would be to set up an appointment with your child’s family medicine doctor. They will be able to answer any questions and concerns, as well as make a referral to an ear, nose and throat specialist if recommended.