Ears and Throat

Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)

Middle ear infections are a common childhood complication of upper respiratory tract infections, and represent a significant problem in some children during the early years. This article discusses exactly what they are and how to manage them.


Snoring and Apnoea in Children

Snoring is common in children, particularly if they have a cold. But if snoring is constant, and causes problems with night time breathing, this sometimes will require further assessment. This article discusses when snoring is problematic and how it is managed.

Tonsillitis and Pharyngitis

Tonsillitis and pharyngitis both mean painful sore throat due to an infection. In most cases the infant or toddler will have a viral cause and rest and time is all that is needed. Bacterial throat infections are usually caused by streptococcus, and generally occur in children over 4 years.


Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis used to be called hayfever. But there is no fever and hay is not really a factor in suburban Australia. But this condition causes considerable distress and results in sneezing, itchy, blocked nose, and often the eyes are involved. The good news is that it is treatable, and desensitisation is possible in some cases.

Ulcers, Sore throat and fever in toddlers

Ulcers, sore throat and fever

This condition (also called herpangina) is an infectious illness that results in ulcers or blisters on the back of the throat or palate. It occurs predominantly in small children and is associated with a high fever for a few days

What is it?

This is an infectious illness caused by a number of viruses. These include a family of viruses called enteroviruses. It used to be thought that the herpes virus was the main cause but this has been shown to be incorrect, but the name still exists.  This is extremely common illness from 12 months of age until around 4yrs.  It is  quite infectious. Luckily apart from some very rare cases this is an illness that is no


t serious.  The illness will last 3 -5 days and during this time should be kept at home.  The virus is excreted in the faeces and good handwashing will prevent its spread.

What are the symptoms ?

Usually the toddler will develop a temperature, go off his or her food and appear upset when swallowing or feeding. There maybe some drooling and high fevers up to 40 degrees and he or she will appear listless.  Sometimes there might be a slight runny nose and some loose bowel actions.  The nighttime can be problematic as the temperature will cause interrupted sleep and the throat will be painful to swallow. Older children may complain of a headache and abdominal pain.  In some cases there maybe a viral type rash on the trunk or the nappy region.

What will the Doctor see ? 

The toddler will usually have a fever, there will be some slightly enlarged lymph nodes around the neck region or under the lower jaw. Often there is drooling.  The throat will have circular ulcers, usually at the back, but sometimes on the palate aswell.  See Picture.  This is not the typical appearance of tonsillitis.

What is the treatment and advice

Being a virus antibiotics are of no value and should not be used.  There are no specific medications that will help eliminate the infection. Most importantly is keeping the toddler comfortable. This will involve some iceblocks, ensuring adequate fluid intake and some panadol or nurofen particularly when going to sleep.

Other facts ? 

  • This is a quite infectious illness and proper handwashing will go some way to prevent spread.
  • If there is a sudden deterioation, it is worth getting reviewed to check there are no complications such as an ear infection.

  • Very very rarely these viruses can have some serious complications. This equates to a handful of cases in Australia each year.
  • They can trigger febrile seizures in those children who are susceptible.This condition (also called herpangina) is an infectious illness that results in ulcers or blisters on the back of the throat or palate. It occurs predominantly in small children and is associated with a high fever for a few days.

Swimmer’s Ear – Otitis Externa

Why does this occur ? The ear canal is normally ‘acidic’. This acid nature acts to prevent the normal presence of bacteria from causing infection. When someone spends a considerable amount of time in the water – any water – then this acidity is reduced and the bacteria proliferate. What are the Symptoms ? Usually […]

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