How to Prepare Your Child for Their First ENT Visit

How to Prepare Your Child for Their First ENT Visit

Pediatric ENT consists of ear, nose, and throat care for children under 18. ENT symptoms are common in kids because getting sick helps the child’s immune system develop. Most symptoms are minor, such as those caused by the cold virus, and you have to let the infection run its course. However, ear infections, breathing problems, and several other concerns need the special attention of an ENT specialist.

At Oasis Ear, Nose, and Throat, otolaryngologists Dr. James Osborne and Dr. Bryan Smedley and their team specialize in providing pediatric ENT services to their young patients in the Surprise, Arizona, area. Preparing your child for their first visit to the office is important to help familiarize them with the people and procedures. Here’s what the experts recommend.

What are common pediatric ENT problems?

Some of the most common ENT problems we see in our pediatric patients include:

Otitis media

Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear, the space behind the eardrum. It’s extremely common: 3 out of 4 children will have at least one bout of it before they reach three years old. It can occur because of a cold, sore throat, or respiratory infection, but most cases result from a poorly functioning eustachian tube, the canal linking the middle ear with the throat that aids with drainage. 

When the eustachian tube isn’t functioning properly, or in the case of young children, it lies flatter than it will when they become adults, and fluid is more likely to build up behind the eardrum. That allows for bacterial and viral growth inside the ear that can lead to an ear infection.

Foreign bodies

Children love to test new things out, and one of the most common ways is by inserting an object in the ear, nose, or mouth. Unfortunately, what goes in easily doesn’t always come out easily, and you should never attempt an extraction yourself. There’s no need to be embarrassed; we’ve seen it all.

Sinusitis and tonsillitis

These are inflammations of the air-filled sinus cavities behind the nose in the skull and the immune tissue at the back of the throat. Depending on the underlying cause of the problem, we can treat the conditions with medications or minor surgical procedures.

How to prepare your child for their first ENT visit

While an initial ENT exam will likely be painless, it’s a new experience for your child, and they may be frightened of what will happen. Here are some ways you can prepare them.

Inform yourself

If you know the condition for which you’re seeking help, visit “Dr. Google” first and find out as much as you can about it. Many sites have kid- and parent-friendly pages that spell out the cause, symptoms, and treatment, so you’ll understand what you and your child are up against.

Then, talk to your child about what you’ve learned. Use simple words and non-threatening terms to communicate effectively. Don’t tell them they’re going to get a shot that’s going to hurt. Instead, say that the doctor will have to give them medicine, they might feel a slight pinch, and then they’re going to feel better.

Ask questions

If there’s something about a condition that you don’t understand, speak up! Part of practicing medicine is helping patients understand their problems and the steps that will treat them. If something comes up during the exam that you weren’t prepared for, speak up again. The doctor will provide an answer that’s informative but basic enough that your child will understand as well.

Talk to your child about surgical procedures too

If during your initial visit, the doctor recommends a surgical procedure such as a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy, you’ll need to prepare your child for the next step. While it’s understandable to be anxious about the procedure yourself, never pass on your anxiety to your child; it will only frighten them.

Just like the initial ENT exam, prepare your child for what to expect. If they need to get their tonsils and/or adenoids removed, focus on the positive aspects of the procedure, not how painful it may be afterward.

Tell them they’ll be asleep the whole time, and when they wake up, they’ll get to come home. Also, focus on the benefits — they’ll get to get to eat pudding, ice cream, and jelly for a whole week! The more positive the spin you can put on it, the more relaxed your child will be.

Want more tips on how to prepare your child for an ENT visit? Call Oasis Ear, Nose, and Throat at 623-207-7560, or book online with us today.

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