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Snoring In Children: What Parents Need To Know

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, explores what parents need to know about snoring in children, its causes, potential risks, and when to seek medical advice.

Does your child snore while sleeping? Do you often find them gasping or choking during the night? If so, you may be concerned about their health and well-being.

“Snoring in children shouldn’t just be dismissed as a bothersome noise; it could signal a deeper problem that warrants attention,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“The Sleep Foundation emphasises that sometimes, what seems like harmless snoring might indicate an underlying issue that can impact your child’s health both now and in the future.”

Understanding Childhood Snoring

Snoring is the sound made when air flows through the passageways at the back of the mouth, and the nose becomes partly clogged during sleeping. While occasional snoring in children is usually harmless, persistent or loud snoring may indicate a problem.

Causes of Childhood Snoring

Several factors can contribute to snoring in children, including:

Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids

 When tonsils and adenoids in the throat and nasal cavity get too big, often due to infections or inflammation, they can block the airway during sleep. This blockage leads to snoring as air struggles to pass through the narrowed space.

Nasal Congestion

 Allergies, colds, or sinus infections can cause nasal congestion, making it difficult for children to breathe correctly through their nose while asleep.

 Obesity

Excess weight may cause fatty tissues to accumulate around the neck, constricting the airway.

Sleep Position

 When a child sleeps on their back, gravity causes the tongue and soft tissues at the back of the throat to slide backwards. As they relax during sleep, these tissues are more likely to collapse into the airway, partly restricting air passage.

Sleep Apnea

Snoring may indicate obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep disorder in which breathing often stops and begins during sleep.

Potential Risks Associated with Childhood Snoring

While occasional snoring may not pose a significant risk to your child’s health, persistent or severe snoring should not be ignored. Some potential risks associated with childhood snoring include:

Poor Sleep Quality: Snoring can disrupt your child’s sleep, leading to daytime fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating in school.

Behavioural Issues: Children who experience chronic snoring may be more prone to behavioural problems such as hyperactivity, aggression, and poor school performance.

Developmental Delays: Prolonged sleep disturbances due to snoring may interfere with your child’s physical and cognitive development.

Cardiovascular Problems: Severe obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and other cardiovascular complications over time.

When to Seek Medical Advice

    1. Loud or persistent snoring occurs most nights.
    2. Short stops in breathing or gasping sounds during sleep.
    3. Excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue.
    4. Behavioural or learning problems at school.
    5. Growth or developmental issues.
    6. Bedwetting or other bladder control issues.

Treatment Options for Childhood Snoring

The underlying reason and severity of a child’s snoring will determine the best action. Some potential treatment options may include:

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy: Surgical removal may be recommended if enlarged tonsils and adenoids are causing the snoring.

Weight Management: If your child is overweight, encourage them to adopt a healthy lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet and getting enough exercise.

Nasal Decongestants or Allergy Medications: If nasal congestion is the culprit, over-the-counter or prescription medications may help relieve symptoms.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy: In cases of obstructive sleep apnoea, CPAP therapy may be prescribed to keep the airway open during sleep.

Orthodontic Treatment: In some cases, orthodontic devices or oral appliances may help keep the airway open during sleep.

Conclusion

Snoring in children is a common issue with various causes and potential risks. While occasional snoring in children is normal, persistent or severe snoring should prompt a medical evaluation. By being aware of why your child snores and seeking appropriate treatment, you can help ensure they get the restful sleep they need.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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