What is Pediatric Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is when the tissue that lines the sinuses (air-filled spaces that surround the nose) experiences inflammation or swelling due to an infection. When children develop sinusitis, it is usually viral and a challenge to diagnose as its symptoms are similar to those of a cold or allergies. The three main types of pediatric sinusitis include:
- Acute - Acute sinusitis occurs when symptoms last for less than 12 weeks and improve with treatment.
- Chronic - Chronic sinusitis arises when symptoms last for more than 12 weeks.
- Recurrent - Three or more cases of acute sinusitis in a year usually signify recurrent sinusitis.
Causes of Pediatric Sinusitis
When discharge obstructs your child's sinuses, bacteria may begin to appear and prompt an infection or pediatric sinusitis. Streptococcus pneumonia, haemophilus influenzae, and moraxella catarrhalis typically lead to sinusitis in children.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Pediatric Sinusitis
Your child may have pediatric sinusitis if they have:
- A cold that persists for more than 10 days
- Thick green or yellow nasal drainage for a few consecutive days
- Post nasal drip accompanied by sore throat, nausea, or bad breath
- Soreness or discomfort over their sinuses
- Swelling near their eye area
- Weakness and fatigue
To determine whether your child is facing pediatric sinusitis, an ENT doctor will examine their ear, nose, and throat with special instruments. They may also search for allergies, structural changes, or immunity issues to ensure proper diagnosis.
Treatments for Pediatric Sinusitis
Treatment options will depend on the type of pediatric sinusitis your child has. If acute sinusitis is present, an ENT doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics. In most cases, antibiotics will improve your child's symptoms within a few days.
In the event your child has chronic sinusitis, nasal sprays, allergy shots, or antibiotics for a longer time frame may help. While surgery is an option, it's very rarely performed to treat this condition.
How to Prevent Pediatric Sinusitis
Fortunately, there are things you can do as a parent to help reduce the risk of pediatric sinusitis in your child. Here are some tips:
- If your child's nose seems dry, give them saline sprays and washes to keep their nose moisturized.
- Make sure your child stays away from cigarette smoke.
- Encourage your child to wash their hands frequently.
- Do not allow your child to spend time with anyone with a cold or other upper respiratory infection.
- Limit your child's time in pools with chlorine as this substance can lead to irritation in their nose and sinuses.
- Take your child to an allergy doctor if they seem to have allergies.
- Use a humidifier when the weather gets chilly.