Children’s sinuses don’t fully develop until they are teenagers, making them more prone to sinus infections than adults. These may be difficult to diagnose since sinusitis symptoms are identical to those found in other conditions such as colds and allergies.
Sinusitis Causes in Children
Sinusitis occurs when the tissues lining the sinuses become swollen and inflamed, interfering with mucus’ drainage. It is usually caused by a cold or allergies but can also occur due to structural abnormalities like nasal polyps or a deviated septum, injuries to the face, or immune system disorders.
What Are Symptoms of Sinusitis?
Symptoms of sinusitis in children mimic those of the common cold. They include irritability, runny nose, congestion, sore throat, cough, postnasal drip, facial pressure and swelling, headache, fever, fatigue, loss of smell and taste, and a thick yellow-green nasal discharge. When sinusitis is the culprit, symptoms usually persist longer than a week to ten days, the typical duration of a cold.
What Are the Most Common Causes?
Children exposed to tobacco smoke, who suffer from allergies, attend daycare or preschool, and experience acid reflux are more prone to developing sinusitis.
How is the Condition Diagnosed?
Your child’s doctor or an ENT specialist will examine the ears, nose, and throat, and may order a CT scan to look for physical obstructions of the sinuses, to confirm a diagnosis of sinusitis.
Treating Sinusitis in Children
Treatment depends on whether the condition is acute (short-term) or chronic (lasting 12 weeks or longer). Acute cases can be treated with antibiotics and nasal decongestants or saline sprays or drops. Symptoms should improve after a few days of treatment, but the full course of antibiotics (if prescribed) must be taken to prevent the sinus infection from returning.
Chronic sinusitis is more serious and requires a long-term medical or surgical solution. You should make an appointment with an otolaryngologist to determine the best option for treatment.
Call Western Michigan ENT at (231) 398-9536 for more information or to schedule an appointment.