Lockdowns all over the country have had serious effects on the quality of life for so many. Job losses, lack of medical care, and mental health crises are some of the worst problems we are facing today. We don’t want to minimize these problems and the dozens of other ways this virus has probably impacted your family. However, it seems that there have been some good things to come out of this time.
One of the ways the lockdown has surprised us is that children’s obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has significantly improved. In this blog, we discuss why that might be.
Reasons for Reduced Sleep Apnea
We treat many children with obstructive sleep apnea. As always, it is our goal to see these children healed and happy. Thankfully, parents are reporting seeing fewer symptoms such as behavioral issues, tiredness, and poor concentration.
Here’s how we think social distancing and lockdowns have helped improve these conditions:
Closure of schools and daycares
Not only has this help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but it also reduces the spread of other viruses, such as respiratory viruses that worsen OSA.
Less exposure to allergens
As people spend more time in their own homes and less time running errands or driving their children back and forth to activities, those with OSA are less exposed to pollen and other allergens. A clear, healthy airway and lungs make for a much healthier, happier child.
Additionally, nitrogen dioxide emissions have significantly decreased so the air we’re breathing is much cleaner.
One of the greatest contributors to the decrease in cases is probably more involvement from parents since they have more time with their children. Parents are able to watch how much time their children are spending outside and where they are going which helps tremendously with keeping their bodies healthy.
As life goes back to normal, we expect symptoms to reappear (though we certainly hope they don’t!) and are prepared to work with children of all ages to achieve better health.
Here are some of the treatment options that are offered for children’s sleep apnea:
- Medications: For children with mild obstructive sleep apnea, topical nasal steroids can lessen the symptoms, but won’t treat the underlying issue.
- Surgery: Our dentist can work with your child’s pediatrician or pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialist to determine if removing the tonsils and adenoids is the best option. Because these two things are usually responsible for blocking the airway, surgery is usually extremely effective. Other surgical options may be recommended as well.
- CPAP machine: This is one of the most common treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. The machine gently pushes air through a tube and mask to the back of the child’s throat, keeping the airway open.
- Oral appliances: Dental devices have proven to be significantly effective for obstructive sleep apnea. These move the child’s jaw and tongue to clear the airway. Many children and adults prefer this treatment because it is much more comfortable than a CPAP machine.
Our Sleep Apnea Specialist
Dr. Timothy Mickiewicz works with patients of all ages to determine the most effective treatments for their sleep apnea. Through years of studying and treating patients, he has earned the title “The Face of Dental Sleep Medicine” by Sacramento Magazine.
During this time, he has come up with creative and more affordable ways to help sleep apnea patients. Click here to learn more.
Contact our office today at (916) 469-9178 to schedule an initial consultation for your child.