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Pediatric Ear, Nose & Throat

If your child is having recurrent ear infections or strep throat, it may be time to visit Gundersen's Otolaryngology department.

Ear infections & ear tubes

Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. If your child has been getting a lot of ear infections or has chronic fluid in the ear, the doctor may recommend ear tubes. Ear, nose and throat specialists in our Otolaryngology department can help determine the best treatment options.

Ear infection symptoms

In infants, the main sign of an ear infection is often irritability and inconsolable crying. Many infants and children with an acute ear infection have a fever or trouble sleeping. Tugging on the ear is not always a sign that the child has an ear infection.

Symptoms of an acute ear infection in older children or adults include:

  • Ear pain or earache
  • Fullness in the ear
  • Feeling of general illness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hearing loss in the affected ear

Some ear infections will safely clear up on their own without antibiotics. Often, treating the pain and allowing the body time to heal itself is all that is needed. Since many bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, doctors try to avoid treating with antibiotics if possible.

Ear tubes

If an infection does not go away with the usual medical treatment, or if your child has many ear infections over a short period of time, the doctor may recommend ear tubes.

In this procedure, a tiny tube is inserted into the eardrum, keeping open a small hole that allows air to get in so fluids can drain more easily. Children can still get ear infections after the surgery, but the ear tubes allow fluid to drain from the ear. You will get ear drops to be used when ears are draining.

Usually the tubes fall out by themselves. Those that don't fall out may be removed in your doctor's office.

Ear tubes are very common. It is often the first surgery for children. Ear tubes are less common for adults and the tubes are often inserted right in the doctor's office without general anesthesia.

Tonsil & Adenoid Surgery

Your child probably had strep throat at one time or another, but when the infection keeps coming back it may be time to have their tonsils and/or adenoids removed.

Tonsillectomy is surgery to remove the tonsils. These glands are at the back of your throat. Often, tonsillectomy is done at the same time as adenoidectomy, surgery to remove the adenoids. It is common for young people to have both their tonsils and adenoids removed. For adults, it is more common to just remove the tonsils.

The main reasons to remove the tonsils and/or adenoids include:

  • Recurrent strep infections or enlarged tonsils
  • Airway obstruction including trouble breathing and snoring
  • Abscess under the tonsil
what to expect

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