WHAT THEY ARE HOW TO RECOGNIZE THEM WHAT TO DO FOR THEM
KEEP WELL SERIES No. 2
TREASURY DEPARTMENT UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE 1919
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
For other instructive Health Leaflets write to the—
UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE WASHINGTON, D. C.
Nature intends that we should breathe through the nose and has so arranged matters that the air is strained, warmed, and moistened as it passes through the nose. This is very important.
Unfortunately about 10 per cent of all children have adenoids which interfere with free breathing through the nose. So many serious results follow this condition that parents should learn something about adenoids and their treatment.
WHAT ARE ADENOIDS?
Inasmuch as adenoids are tucked away up behind the palate, and are therefore out of sight, it may be well to study the picture shown above.
The air passes into the lungs as shown by the arrows. At the place marked "A T" nature has provided a kind of moist cushion which helps to filter impurities out of the air. This cushion is formed of what doctors call "adenoid tissue" and is similar to that which makes up the tonsils. When this adenoid tissue grows abnormally large it forms what are known as "adenoids." From the position of these adenoids as shown on the diagram it will readily be seen how easily they interfere with proper nasal breathing.
WHAT ADENOIDS DO.
One of the first results of the growth of adenoids is mouth breathing. When this condition develops, the air breathed in reaches the throat and lungs in an unpurified condition. Moreover, it is not sufficiently warmed or moistened. In a short time, therefore, such children begin to suffer from repeated colds, and show the signs of a beginning of nasal catarrh. Unless proper treatment is now undertaken the condition soon gets worse, and the child's nasal breathing becomes more and more obstructed.
Children who suffer from adenoids are usually pale, often narrow-chested, and altogether are not as strong and robust as are normal children.
But this is by no means all of the harm done by adenoids. They affect the voice, disfigure the facial expression, interfere with hearing, give rise to night terrors, open the way for serious invasions by disease germs, and, through the development of chronic nasal catarrh, may lead to loss of the sense of smell.
The alteration of the facial expression is often so great that the child looks stupid and sometimes even half-imbecile.
One of the chief disfigurements caused by adenoids is that of the jaws and teeth. This is well shown in the picture.
It will be noticed that the teeth of the upper jaw stick out and are not covered by the lip as they should be. In these cases the roof of the mouth, that is, the palate, is narrow and highly arched, and the two jaws do not come together as they do in normal persons. This condition is called "malocclusion." Usually, too, the teeth of the upper jaw are irregular and crowded. (See pictures, p. 6.)
The malformation of the teeth thus produced by adenoids may lead in turn to other serious conditions, among them the chronic disease known as pyorrhea, various forms of root infection, and chronic indigestion.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE CONDITION.
The presence of adenoids should be suspected if the child habitually sleeps with open mouth, snores a great deal, or has frequent strangling coughing spells. Sleeping with open mouth is one of the first signs and should therefore lead at once to a careful examination by a physician. Sometimes difficulty in hearing is one of the early symptoms. Therefore, in all cases of ear trouble an examination should be made for adenoids.
WHAT TO DO.
Whenever adenoids are large enough to give rise to any of the symptoms already described, they should be removed. This is especially the case in children under 10 years of age, for it is probable that the condition will grow worse. The operation is a simple one and not dangerous. It should be performed under anesthesia. Relief is immediate and the health and strength of the child usually improves rapidly afterwards. It is wrong to delay having the operation done, for the presence of adenoids not only endangers the child's health, but a few months' delay may cause considerable malformation of the jaws, palate, nose, and face.
Study the above photographs of the same patient before and after treatment for adenoids. They show what can be done by proper treatment.