Recurring episodes of streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) is common in children and in some cases may require surgical intervention. Some patients suffer from chronic tonsillitis without recurring acute infections. In these patients, symptoms might include frequent sore throat that does not require antibiotics, bad breath, a chronic foul taste in the mouth, or tonsil stones. Mulitple treatement options are available for each of these problems.
Noisy breathing in babies can appear in a number of forms. Stertor (snoring sounds) often reflect nasal congestion, wheezing can be heard in babies with reactive airways. Stridor is a high pitched squeaking sound that many of us have in heard in older children with croup. In infants with noisey breathing, this symptom often requires evaluation by an otolaryngologist . There are multiple potential causes of this symptom, including vocal cord weakness or paralysis, growths on the vocal cords, reflux, compression of the trachea by an abnormal blood vessel in the chest, floppiness of the trachea (tracheomalacia), or a mass in the airway. By far the most common cause of this symptom in babies is a condition called laryngomalacia. This is a floppiness or immaturity of the voice box. Examination of the voice box can help determine the cause of and the best treatment for noisy breathing in babies. Most often this examination is accomplished endoscopically in the office.
Hoarseness in children can have multiple causes. Hoarseness can indicate not only a problem with the voice, but in some patients breathing and swallowing may be affected. Vocal nodules are a common cause of hoarseness in children and can often be treated with speech therapy. Laryngeal polyps and papillomas produce hoarseness, but left untreated can lead to significant breathing problems. Children with vocal cord weakness or paralysis can also present with hoarseness. Children with a history of intubation or surgery involving the chest or neck may be at risk for vocal cord weakness. These patients may have difficulty with swallowing in addition to a change in their voice.