Sinuses are present at birth, but children’s sinuses don’t become fully developed until late in their teen years. Unlike sinusitis (sinus infections) in adults, this condition can be difficult to diagnose in children because its symptoms can be caused by other problems, such as a cold or allergies.
What is a sinus infection?
Sinuses are hollow cavities located near the nasal passage. When they become infected and swell or become irritated, this is known as sinusitis. It can cause irritating symptoms that may last for weeks on end and affect the entire body.
These infections usually follow a cold or bouts with allergies.
What are the causes of sinusitis?
The sinuses are lined with membranes that produce mucus. When someone has a cold or allergies, the nasal passages as well as the sinus tissues become swollen and make more mucus. As a result, mucus that normally flows smoothly can get blocked and become trapped in the sinuses. It becomes a breeding ground where bacteria, viruses, and fungi can thrive, resulting in sinusitis.
What are the symptoms of sinusitis in children?
Sinusitis can cause different symptoms depending on the child’s age. Younger children tend to have symptoms that they might have with a cold, including a stuffy or runny nose and a low-grade fever.
The following symptoms may indicate sinusitis in children:
- A cold that lasts more than 10 to 14 days, sometimes with a low-grade fever
- Thick yellow-green nasal discharge
- Post-nasal drip (mucus dripping down the back of the throat), which can be accompanied by other symptoms such as a sore throat, cough, bad breath, nausea, or vomiting
- Irritability or fatigue
- Swelling around the eyes
Why does my child keep getting sinus infections?
Very young children in particular have immune systems that haven’t fully developed, so they can be more likely to get infections of the nose, sinuses, and ears. These are most frequently caused by viral infections, and they can be further aggravated by allergies.
If your child has symptoms beyond a week to ten days, he or she may have a sinus infection.
You can reduce the risk of sinus infections for your child by reducing exposure to known environmental allergies and pollutants.
What are the treatment options for sinusitis in children?
Antibiotic therapy works well for most cases of sinusitis in children. Nasal decongestant sprays or saline nasal sprays may also be prescribed for short-term relief of stuffiness.
Nasal saline drops or sprays can be helpful in thinning secretions and improving mucous membrane function.
Children with sinusitis are successfully treated with antibiotic therapy in most cases. In the rare cases when medicine is ineffective, surgical therapy can be used as a safe and effective method for treating sinus disease in children.
The FDA has approved balloon sinuplasty for patients of all ages. This minimally invasive procedure involves no cutting and no removal of bone or tissue. Instead, it utilizes a small balloon catheter to open up blocked sinuses so they can drain normally.
All treatments, including procedures such as balloon sinuplasty, are decided on an individual case-by-case basis.
Where can I find treatment for my child’s sinusitis?
DFW Sinus Select has numerous practices located throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area that provide treatment for young patients. We provide the highest quality of care in a compassionate manner that puts patients of any age at ease.
The first step in treating any sinus condition is to set up an appointment to have your child evaluated by one of our specialists.
Once a thorough exam and medical history has been conducted, our ENT doctors (ear, nose, and throat) will be able to explain what’s causing your child’s sinusitis and what treatment options are available.
Take the first step toward relieving your child’s sinusitis by filling out the appointment request form on this page or by contacting one of our offices.