For Nicole Sesi of Libertyville, it all started with an ear infection that was making her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter miserable.
Even with multiple rounds of antibiotics, her toddler’s recurrent earaches kept coming back. “She would have temperatures of over 100 degrees and severe ear pain that made it very difficult for her to sleep. She was extremely fussy and irritable,” Sesi said.
To complicate matters, Sesi’s daughter began developing gastro-intestinal (GI) issues triggered by multiple doses of antibiotics that weren’t fighting off the ear infections. That’s when she decided to take the next step in seeking help for her daughter. In a search for help, they soon visited the Libertyville office of Dr. Benjamin C. Johnson, M.D., an otolaryngologist with Lake County ENT/Head & Neck Specialists. Johnson, an ear nose and throat (ENT) physician experienced in treating adults and children, knew Sesi’s daughter was dealing with something far beyond a typical ear infection.
“When a child endures several ear infections in a matter of months, it’s time to investigate whether treatment needs to move up a level from antibiotics prescribed after the initial exam,” Johnson said. “I usually don't see kids until they’ve had 6 or more infections because pediatricians prescribe standard treatments that take time to determine whether they’re working or not.”
The condition affecting Sesi’s daughter stemmed from chronic middle ear infections and the solution came from a unique form of outpatient surgery. Dr. Johnson recommended what’s called pressure equalization tube replacement. The procedure calls for placing tiny tubes in the ear drums that equalize the pressure in the middle ear to prevent fluid buildup – which triggers middle ear infections. Despite sounding very technical and invasive, pressure equalization tube replacement is completed under a brief, general anesthesia and only takes a few minutes. Johnson says his patients feel little if any pain after the procedure and can go back to their normal routines right away – even a toddler. The tubes stay in for about 6 – 12 months and then fall out on their own.
“Knowing what I know now, I would have taken my daughter to see an ENT much sooner in the process,” added Sesi. “Dr. Johnson diagnosed the situation right away and it was such a relief to know she was going to be better. The more information you have and the sooner you have it, the better you can decide what the right course of action will be.”
When a chronic condition affecting a child’s head or neck warrants an exam by an ENT, parents don’t necessarily have to seek one out who only specializes in treating children. “General ENTs based in a family’s local area are experts at treating children as well as adults, said Johnson. “The first visit should always be to your child’s pediatrician, but trained ENT specialists who treat kids with chronic head and neck conditions that just won’t subside may be closer than you think.”
To learn more on how ENTs can help patients of all ages and about Lake County ENT/Head & Neck Specialists in Libertyville, please visit www.lakecountyent.com or call 847-367-5770.