4 Common ENT Problems in Children & Adults

By Stephen Chandler, MD |29 June 2021|

There are numerous problems that can affect the ears, nose, and throats of children and adults. By far, the four most common are: strep throat, Eustachian tube dysfunction leading to middle ear infections, otitis externa (ear canal infections or “swimmers ear”, sinusitis, and rhinitis.

Strep throat is an infection caused by the bacterium streptococcus — hence the name. This infection is most common in children, but it can occur in adults as well. The symptoms of strep are sore throat, swollen tonsils, fever, and sometimes petechiae (red spots) on the roof of the mouth. Luckily, doctors can easily test for strep by taking a sample. If the test comes back positive then you will most likely be prescribed with an antibiotic since it’s a bacterial infection and not viral. If the test comes back negative then your symptoms are most likely associated with a viral infection, although there are other bacteria that can infect the tonsils.

Ear infections are common in adults, but even more so in children. These infections occur when a bacterium or virus causes congestion and swelling in the eustachian tubes. The normal function of this tube is to help maintain air pressure in the middle ear equal to the air pressure of the outside environment. When these tubes are blocked the results can be quite painful. Thankfully, ear infections typically clear up on their own if they’re viral and can be treated with antibiotics if they’re bacterial. Recurrent middle ear infections can be treated by the placement of ventilatory tubes placed in the tympanic membrane.

Sinusitis is a combination of the root word sinus, meaning the air passages surrounding your nose, and the suffix -itis meaning inflamed. Inflammation of the sinuses occurs when the outflow tracts of the sinuses are blocked or the sinus lining itself is damaged by a virus, bacteria, or allergies. Either way, excess fluid becomes trapped in the sinus cavities. These infections can lead to headaches, sinus pressure, fever, coug, post nasal drainage and difficulty sleeping. The best initial treatment for both the infection and the symptoms is a daily sinus rinse with a product like Complete Rinse. 

Allergic rhinitis, known colloquially as hay fever, has a misleading name. Similar to sinusitis, it’s an inflammation of the rhin or nose, but it can affect the throat, ears, and sinuses as well. This condition occurs when allergens or irritants such as pollen, mold, and dust come into contact with the mucous membranes. Symptoms include itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and postnasal drip. The best initial treatment is similar to sinusitis and includes a daily sinus rinse. 

Dr. Stephen Chandler is a practicing Otolaryngologist in Montgomery, Alabama and owner of Sandler Scientific, LLC, makers of CompleteRinse®. To schedule a visit with Dr. Chandler call 334-834-7221 Learn more at https://www.jacksonclinicent.org/. Complete Rinse is available on Amazon and at www.completerinse.com.