Common Sinus Problems in Children
The sinuses are a group of four paired air-filled spaces that surround the nasal cavity. Healthy sinuses contain no viruses or bacteria, allow air to circulate freely, and enable mucous to drain out as needed. When the sinuses become backed up with mucous and air does not circulate freely, germs are able to grow and cause inflammation.
A child’s sinuses are not fully developed until late in their teenage years, so younger children are especially prone to infections and sinusitis. Sinus problems in children are most commonly caused by viral infections , such as colds and the flu, and may also be triggered by seasonal allergies. A child with sinusitis may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Thick, yellowish-green nasal drainage
- Fatigue or irritability
- Swelling around the eyes
- Cold symptoms that last more than the usual week to ten days, sometimes with a low-grade fever
- Sore throat, cough, nausea caused by post-nasal drip
If your child is exhibiting the above symptoms, consider seeking treatment from your local pediatrician. Once diagnosed with sinusitis, children generally respond well to treatment with antibiotics. The small percentage of children who do not respond to antibiotic therapy will often benefit from surgery to make narrow sinus drainage pathways wider. Depending on the underlying cause of the symptoms, your pediatrician may also recommend the surgical removal of adenoid tissue. While the inflammation of this tissue does not directly block the sinuses, it can cause many symptoms that are very similar to a sinus infection.
You can reduce your child’s risk of developing sinus infections by preventing exposure to air pollutants, such as tobacco smoke, and reducing his or her time at day care. If you still have questions about your child’s risk for sinus infections, let Sunrise Children’s Hospital be your resource for further information. Contact our staff of experienced pediatric specialists by calling (702) 731-5437 at any time.