Open Mouth breathing, children’s blocked nose, snoring or restless kids along with loss of attention; all seems to be pretty normal behavior in children, but is it really?
The diagnosis of medical concerns with excited, perky little children is a difficult task. Little darlings are so active and delightful that it’s tricky to realize that they may be suffering in pain. But, isn’t that what a parent is for? The following narrative of a child’s treatment in the ENT department will move you and is a must-read for all devoted and loving parents.
Fatma, is the chirpy, playful diligent 6-year-old daughter of my dear friend Mohammed. At 4, Fatma was a healthy active and cheerful child even won ”the Most cheerful kid” award in her class! Mohammed and his wife were proud parents until they started noticing the changes. Fatma’s nose started getting blocked with season changes which all seemed very normal. Slowly though, she started snoring at night which was expected with that extremely stuffy blocked nose of her’s. And then waking up suddenly after uncannily short bursts of sleep. Mom and dad took her to a local pediatric clinic where she was prescribed some saline nasal drops, a steroid spray, and antibiotics. Unfortunately, this gave relief only temporarily.
Meanwhile, Fatma started catching flus more often than she could have ice cream!! Almost every 2 weeks Fatma would fall ill with fever and would be diagnosed with a respiratory illness. One week it was bronchitis, another few weeks later influenza, and another week, pain in the ear. Her behavior changed. Fatma was restless, jittery, lost focus, and interest in studies. Her mother was horrified as she started noticing that Fatma was not sleeping well at night. She would take hours to fall asleep, as if she was fighting it, grind her teeth all night and wake up often. The sleep deprivation had obvious effects in the mornings as Fatma started throwing tantrums, not waking up easily, and be inactive and sleepy throughout the day. She lost her appetite and had dark circles under her eyes.
Mohammed and his wife were mortified but didn’t know what to do. Their doctor advised that it will be fine “with age”. “With age”??? Mom couldn’t imagine how she could watch her daughter helplessly until she reaches “the age”! She still reminds us of how she spent nights awake, lifting Fatma’s head so she can breathe and sleep better. At this point in the story, I’d like to point out that an experienced dedicated pediatrician or specialist is a real blessing and must be always treasured. Nothing seemed fine and then one day Mom’s prayers must have worked.
Mohammed happened to meet Dr. Ahmed Khan, Pediatrician, neonatologist and MD of Femcity hospitals and Fatma was there. Mohammed, poured out his heart to his friend, Dr. Khan and instantly Dr. Khan noticed Fatma’s nasal voice, mouth breathing and dark eye circles. Dr Khan asked Mohammed to get Fatma’s airway xray and referred Fatma to Femcity’s ENT specialist. I must say, Femcity houses experienced and compassionate ENT specialists particularly suited to gently treating young ones.
Fatma’s xrays returned, showing an enlarged adenoid and a 90% block in her nasal passage. 90%, Yes 90% . So Fatma was practically breathing through her mouth alone. The doctors explained. When a child breathes through their mouth, their brain (and body) is not getting enough oxygen. At night, this lowered oxygen saturation is detrimental to the quality of sleep and their brain’s ability to get enough rest. When the mouth is open, the tongue cannot rest in place. Over time this can lead to incorrect development of the upper jaw – narrow and high palette, a recessed lower jaw, speech problems, and misaligned teeth. These developments narrow the airways and worsen the problem. ENT professionals have a term for the resulting ‘long’ face caused by these changes – ‘Adenoid face.’ Mohammed and his wife were shocked with the knowledge they were missing! How could they have ignored their darling angel’s condition for so long.
Immediately Fatma’s adenoidectomy was scheduled. True to it’s promise, Femcity cared for Fatma compassionately and comprehensively. A short procedure and a day’s stay at the hospital later Fatma happily went home and was asked to stay away from infections for 2 weeks. 4 or 5 days after the adenoidectomy Fatma’s running nose started to dry up. Her mom’s eyes swell up with happy tears as she retells the story. She noticed that Fatma slept at night with not a sound of snoring. Her mouth closed. That night, Fatma slept undisturbed for 14 hours and woke up fresh and happy. That’s all it needed? thought Mohammed and his wife. Just a correct diagnosis and an experienced Doctor’s consultation to bring the joy back in their lives and prevent any life long effects for their precious one.
Your children are your most cherished entity. Don’t ignore any concerns and bring them to the best. You
will thank yourself later.