Snoring in a young child is a fairly common condition. A lot of times, allergic rhinitis can contribute to the snoring. The important thing is to ensure the child is not suffering from obstructive sleep apnea as this will have serious consequences on the child’s health. Sleep apnea in a child can lead to disturbed sleep, mouth breathing and impaired mental development. As their concentration and attention is shorter, this can affect their learning ability in school.
Dr Dennis Chua is an accredited pediatric ENT specialist that sees many children with this condition.
For many children with snoring, allergic rhinitis is a contributor to this condition. In addition, big tonsils and adenoids are also frequently associated with this. For some kids, they can be chronic mouth breathers. This can result in adenoid facies (long face syndrome) and they can grow up with occlusal/ dental issues. (See image shown in a child who is a mouth breather and dental issues. In addition, there are dark eye circles which are indicative of strong allergies. These are known as allergic eye shiners)
Treatment will include allergic rhinitis. On top of the nasal sprays, it is important to do a skin prick test to test for allergies. Allergen avoidance will be important. It is also important to assess the size of tonsil and adenoids as these are important prognostic factors for improvement of the snoring with nasal sprays. Generally speaking most patients with Grade 1 and 2 tonsil and adenoids do well with allergen avoidance and medications. Grade 3 and 4 tonsil and adenoids may not respond as well. Some patients may need a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy to treat their condition. Thankfully most patients respond well with medications and may not need operation.
A sleep study to assess potential sleep apnea in children is necessary if they are morbidly obese or associated with other medical problems.