Some children as young as 3 years old and even younger snore. As much as it can be funny, snoring at such an early age can indicate there is a medical problem that must be treated properly.
Causes of child snoring
Like adults, children snore when they cannot breathe freely through the nose or mouth during sleep. This may occur for several reasons:
1) Seasonal allergies may cause nasal congestion (stuffy nose) and consequently snoring.
2) Sinus infection (often the result of common cold) that blocks nasal airways.
3) Deviated nasal septum – The cartilage and bone that separate the two nostrils are crooked and even pierced. This can lead to difficult breathing, nasal congestion, headaches, bleeding and, of course, snoring.
4) Swollen tonsils, also known as Tonsillitis, resulting from bacterial or viral infections. Many children tend to chronically suffer from this condition which may come with fever and difficulty swallowing.
5) Excess body weight which may result in the constriction of the upper respiratory tract.
Of the five reasons mentioned above numbers 3, 4 and 5 cause chronic snoring while 1 and 2 usually lead to temporary snoring.
Sleep apnea is characterized by short breathing pauses during sleep. Children with this sleep disorder tend to stop breathing 30-300 times during a one-night sleep. They wake up often, sometimes with headaches. In the course of the day, they will be exhausted, sleepy and distracted. Older children will find it hard to concentrate in school and, in many cases, have lower grades.
Lifting the bed’s headboard up a few inches and avoiding a heavy meal before bedtime will be useful for children who snore lightly from time to time. Heavy and chronic snoring demands more serious treatment.
If the child is overweight, she will have to change her diet. This is, naturally, the parents’ responsibility to make sure their child leads a healthy lifestyle.
To treat allergy, it is recommended that the child stay away from potential allergens, such as fury pets or birds. In severe cases, the doctor may prescribe him drugs to weaken the body’s allergic reaction. Some of these drugs consist of steroids, such as prednisolone or cortisone.
Tonsillitis and Deviated nasal septum may require surgical intervention depending on the otolaryngologist’s decision.
Finally, sleep apnea is diagnosed through an overnight sleep study. After the diagnostic process is completed, the patient is offered a whole spectrum of treatment methods that ranges from weight loss and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to surgery in severe cases.