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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    My child snores. Should I see a doctor about it?

    As a baby my youngest always seemed to have a stuffy nose and was a heavy breather. He is now 4 and snores, should i be concerned? Should I be seeing someone about this?
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    Nyema Hermiston

    Homeopath, Naturopath, Registered Nurse

    Nyema has been in ‘general practice’ treating adults and children for acute and chronic illnesses for over 20 years. She is Vice President of The … View Profile

    Snoring in children means that either their adenoids are enlarged, or the tissue lining their nose is swollen, usually caused by allergies. Also their nose may be blocked due to a mucus discharge.
    It is important to treat this, because their oxygen levels may be lower during sleep, which can cause drowsiness and irritablility during the day - and if at school, learning ability.
    There is medical treatment for snoring in children, medication and surgery. In our clinic we look at causes for the problem, often food allergy, and we do have medicines that can reduce tonsil and adenoid size, which is something to consider as an intial option.

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    Dr Daniel Novakovic

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    Dr Novakovic is an Australian Ear, Nose & Throat, Head & Neck surgeon with a special interest in voice and swallowing problems. He is subspecialty … View Profile

    Snoring alone does not necessarily mean that the tonsils or adenoids are enlarged and is not always a problem. Many children have enlarged tonsils and adenoids and do not snore. Snoring in children, however, may be an indicator of a more serious problem such as sleep disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. In these conditions oxygen levels in the blood can drop during sleep causing the child to be restless or even wake momentarily out of deep sleep and into more shallow phases of sleep. Accordingly they get a poor quality sleep

    If you are concerned about your child's snoring you should always seek professional medical help. Some of the things to look out for and discuss with the doctor which may give an indication that the problem is more than just simple snoring include:
    - Is your child mouth breathing rather than nose breating?
    - Does your child hold their breath or stop breathing during the snoring?
    - Do you worry about your child's breathing so much that you sleep with them?
    - Does your child wake tired and unrefreshed
    - Does your child have behavioural issues at school (disruptive or poor attenion span)?
    - Does your child fall asleep easily during the day?

    A proper assessment of the snoring child should take these questions into consideration along with a thorough clinical examination looking at the tonsils and nasal airway. There are excllent treatments available depending upon the cause and severity

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    Dr Maree Barnes

    Respiratory & Sleep Medicine Physician

    Dr Barnes has competed specialty training in sleep medicine and is currently working at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne. Dr Barnes’ current research focuses are: … View Profile

    Yes, you should see a doctor about this. Snoring in a child may indicated that the airway is partially collapsed and the child is not able to breathe normally during the night. As well as an assessment of the tonsils an adenoids, it will be important to assess breathing and oxygen levels during the night, so a sleep physician should be seen.

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    The Sleep Health Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of ‘valuing sleep’ as part of a healthy lifestyle alongside regular exercise, a … View Profile

    You can find out more about children's sleep disorders on the Sleep Health Foundation website here.

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    Dr David McIntosh

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    David McIntosh is an Australian trained ENT surgeon with international experience. His areas of interest are paediatrics, nose and sinus disease, and providing access to … View Profile

    Children are not supposed to snore except when tired and/or sick. Habitual snoring for 4 or more nights of the week is an indicator of potential problems. Specialist assessment is indicated in such circumstances. 

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