Can Children Suffer from Sinus Infections?
In children, sinuses do not develop fully until they reach in their late teens – but they do have small ethmoid sinuses (these are present between the eyes) and maxillary sinuses (these are present behind the cheek) by birth. Therefore, children do suffer from sinusitis or sinus infections. In children, diagnosis of sinusitis is a bit trivial as the symptoms of sinusitis often mimic that of viral illness, cold and allergy. In addition, respiratory infections are also common in children, the symptoms of which are very subtle.
How do you know that your child has sinusitis?
The first several years of children’s lives are very crucial as they are more prone to cold, allergy, ears, nose and sinus infections. More frequent among such infections may include viral infections – cold and allergies – and sometimes, colds get aggravated by allergies. Sinus infections in children are mostly followed by cold and allergies. As a parent, you can suspect sinus infection in your child if the child has the symptoms of cold and allergy for up to ten days or more than a week.
Symptoms of sinusitis in children: Though the symptoms of sinusitis in children are often very subtle, yet you can still make out whether your child has sinusitis. The following symptoms associated with sinusitis may help you to know whether your child has sinusitis: cold, cough, sore throat or viral infection lasting for around ten to fifteen days. The other prominent symptoms associated with sinusitis in children may include low-grade fever, headache, fatigue, irritability, post-nasal drip, greenish or yellowish, thick nasal drainage and mucus and swelling around the eyes.
Chronic sinusitis: If more than three or four symptoms persist in a child up to three months or more, then the child may have chronic sinusitis. If it is suspected, then you should immediately seek medical help and approach an ENT specialist. In addition, if your child encounters recurrent episodes of acute sinusitis – in the range of four to five bouts of infections in a year – then you should see an ENT specialist at the earliest.
How is sinusitis diagnosed in children?
If you suspect that your child may have sinusitis, then you must visit an ENT specialist to get the complete medical examination done by the doctor and rule out the cause.
The ENT specialist will examine the ears, nose and throat by using special instruments – and may recommend special investigations and tests if deems necessary to evaluate whether the child’s sinuses have fully developed or to know whether any blockage has occurred.
The diagnosis is done by nasal endoscopy and CT scan of sinuses. The doctor will further look for the other causes such as any structural changes, growths, allergies or any other issues with the immune system – which could be responsible for sinusitis. After complete medical examination, physical examination, evaluation of symptoms and reports and medical history of the child – the doctor confirms the diagnosis.
How is sinusitis treated in children?
Unlike a cold or allergy, bacterial sinusitis requires a physician’s diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to prevent future complications. Adenoid hypertrophy can lead to sinusitis in children. Once adenoid is treated sinusitis may resolve.
How to minimize the risk of sinusitis in children?
Prevention is always better than cure: As a parent, you can minimize and prevent cold and allergic infections from developing into sinusitis in children. To ensure this, keep the sinuses of your child clean by using a best nasal spray for sinusitis (nasal spray for congestion) and letting the child blow their nose by blocking one nostril with thumb and blowing the other.
The child should be allowed to drink plenty of fluids, which will help make the nasal discharge thin and smooth. The child should not get in contact with the allergy triggers like dust, molds, pollen and other such allergens. In addition, the child should not come in contact with other children suffering from cold and should be instructed to wash the hands regularly.
If the child is suspected to have allergy attacks, allergy testing should be done and then appropriate treatment should be sought immediately to increase the tolerance of allergens. Finally, as a safe rule of thumb, you must minimize exposure of your child to some of the environmental pollutants, such as dust, cigarette smoke, plants pollen and molds.