Sinus infection in Children Questions and Answers
If you have noticed your child’s common cold is lasting longer than normal, call Night Lite Pediatrics today! We will be able to help with your child’s sinus infection and get them back on their feet quickly! Call us today or visit us online for our locations. We serve patients from Greater Orlando, Jacksonville, West Melbourne, and Port St Lucie Florida areas.
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an inflammation or swelling in the tissue lining of the sinuses. Sinuses are hollow spaces within the child’s bones between their eyes, behind their cheekbones and in their forehead. This makes mucus, which keeps the inside of your nose moist, in turn it helps to protect against dust, allergens, and pollutants.
While healthy sinuses are filled with air, sinuses with infections are blocked and filled with fluid, germs which can grow and cause an infection.
What Causes Sinusitis?
Pediatric doctors can diagnose your child’s sinus infection as the following:
- Acute sinusitis
Acute sinusitis generally starts with cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, stuffy nose and facial pain. It can start suddenly and last up to 2-4 weeks.
- Subacute sinusitis
Temporal progression of symptoms that lasts from 4-12 weeks long. It is a recurrent acute sinusitis and can occur each year with at least 8 weeks between each episode.
- Chronic sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis have similar signs and symptoms, however chronic sinusitis can last upwards of 12 weeks, and your child may experience several episodes of acute sinusitis before developing chronic sinusitis.
- Recurrent sinusitis
Recurrent sinusitis is exactly what it says, it is a recurring sinus infection which can flare up several times throughout the year
Conditions that can cause sinus blockage of sinusitis include:
- Common cold
- Allergic rhinitis, which is when swelling of the lining of the nose is flared up by allergens
- Small growth in the lining of the nose which are called nasal polyps
- Deviated septum which is when there is a shift in the nasal cavity
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Sinusitis?
Sinusitis in children looks different than sinusitis in adults. More often than not, children show signs of sinusitis by coughing, bad breath, crankiness, low energy, and even swelling around the eyes, along with thick yellow-green nasal or post-nasal drip.
These Signs and symptoms of pediatric sinusitis may include your child has an infection:
- Cold lasting longer than 10-14 days
- Low or even a high-grade fever
- Thick yellow-green looking nasal drainage for at least three days in a row
- Post-nasal drip, this can include sore throat, cough, bad breath, nausea and/or vomiting
- Headache, usually occurs in children aged six or older
- Irritability or tiredness
- Swelling around the eyes
Most of the time children that are diagnosed with a viral sinus infection will improve by getting treated for the symptoms they are showing, but antibiotics can only be considered in severe cases of bacterial sinusitis.
Your child’s sinuses are not fully developed until their later teen years. Pediatric sinusitis can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms children show can be caused by other problems, such as viral illness or allergies.
Can Sinusitis be treated and prevented?
Sinusitis infections often occur after a cold or when allergies hit. There are four different sinuses, which are:
- Ethmoid sinus
Located near the bridge of the nose. This sinus is present at birth, and continues to grow throughout the child’s life.
- Maxillary sinus
Located near the cheeks. This sinus is also present at birth and continues to grow throughout the child’s life.
- Frontal sinus
Is located near the area of the forehead. This sinus does not develop until the child is around the age of 7.
- Sphenoid sinus
Located deep behind the nose. This sinus does not develop in children until their teen years.
Treatment for sinusitis in children will depend on how severe the condition is.
Acute sinusitis generally gets better on its own, however when it doesn’t your child’s pediatric doctor can prescribe antibiotics or allergy medications to help them as a decongestant.
Chronic sinusitis treatments include several options like:
- ENT specialist
Your pediatric doctor may refer your child to an ENT specialist if they think the chronic sinusitis is severe enough.
Your child may be prescribed antibiotics to help with their sinusitis.
- Inhaled corticosteroid medicine
Nasal sprays or nasal drops with steroids in them are normally prescribed.
- Other medicine
Medicines with antihistamines and decongestants like saline sprays or drops, or other medicines will help to loosen and clear any mucus that may be clogging the sinuses.
- Allergy shots or immunotherapy
If your child is suffering from allergies, allergy shots may help to reduce their reaction to the allergens such as pollen, dust mites or even mold.
If sinusitis is severe, and no other methods have worked. Surgery is an option. However, this is very rare for children.
Care that can be continued at home includes:
Having your child drink a glass of water or juice like apple or orange juice every hour or two can help thin mucus, and allow it to drain easier. Fluids also help to prevent any dehydration.
- Saline rinse
Saline rinses help to keep the sinuses and nose moist.
- Warm compress
Apply a warm compress like a moist towel to your child’s nose, cheeks and eyes to help ease the pain in their face from sinusitis.