Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Things Parents Should Know

One of the things that often parents couldn’t avoid is dealing with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) which is common in children.Parents as we are, we always want our children to have a good night sleep considering it is one of the essential factors that would greatly affect their growth. However, it is sad to know that only a few of us really know the reason why our little angels wake up at night and have trouble going back to sleep.When a child’s sleep is interrupted almost every night, it is OSA that is causing it. As parents, there are things that we should know about this syndrome so that we could help our children get over it.   Sleep Apnea is a disorder, not a disease. It happens when a soft issue at the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway. When it happens, the brain alerts the person or child and wakes him/her up.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Things Parents Should Know

How would I know if my child has OSA?

Fortunately, it is almost easy to spot the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Continuous and loud snoring is the most common. However, you should also know that 15 to 20 percent of normal children also snore on a regular or intermittent basis. Thus, you couldn’t immediately jump to a conclusion that your kid has OSA when he/she snores.  Other symptoms that would determine your kid has OSA are the following:
  • Mouth Breathing. When your child inhales and exhales through the mouth, it means that something is blocking the nasal passages.
  • Enlarged Tonsils. Tonsillitis is also common in children considering little children love eating sweets. More often, enlarged tonsils would also block the airway that will interrupt their sleep at night.
  • Overweight. Study shows that 90 percent (or even higher) of obese or overweight children are suffering from OSA. So, if your child is overweight and always having a hard time sleeping at night, there is a greater possibility he/she has sleep apnea.

What can I do to help my child get over it?

As parents, it would be difficult for us to see our children suffer, however, in the case of OSA, there is nothing much we can do but stay with our children at night. But it doesn’t mean you’ll just let this disorder continue disturbing your loved ones.Sleep apnea may be a manifestation of other health problems like allergies or tonsillitis that require professional help. It is your responsibility to check if there are manifestations of your child’s known allergies or other underlying medical problems.If your child is overweight, you should be the first one to encourage him/her to lose weight. It will not just help him with obstructive sleep apnea but it is also beneficial for his/her general health.In case your child has developed tonsillitis at an early age, tonsillectomy is never an option. What you can do is let him/her be checked by pediatrician so that a prescription for the inflammation would be given. You should also minimize the amount of sweets or sugar in his/her meals.Our touch would be enough to put our children back to sleep. It is also our responsibility as parents to let them feel we are always there for them. So, if you know your child is suffering from sleep apnea, do what is necessary to stop it.

Above all, the tender and loving care is all our children need to be assured that everything will be just fine.  

About the Author

Harold Hisona is a health practitioner specializing alternative medicine. He runs a health blog catering almost all types and methods of healing diseases and disorders including sleep apnea.