Pediatric Sinusitis refers to sinus problems in children. A child’s sinuses do not fully develop until their late teens, so sinusitis may present differently in children than in adults.
Susceptibility in Children
Sinusitis affects many children, but children with the following conditions are more likely to develop sinusitis:
- Children with an abnormally shaped nose
- Children with an inflamed or infected tooth
- Children born with a cleft palate
- Children diagnosed with GERD
- Children who have suffered from a nose injury
- Children who may have lodged a foreign object up their nose
- Children with inherited respiratory diseases (like cystic fibrosis or primary ciliary dyskinesia)
- Immunodeficient children
Read on to understand the three most common types of sinusitis in children, their symptoms, and the treatment options.
Acute Sinusitis Infections in Children
Bacteria begin to grow in the sinuses when they are blocked with discharge. This can lead to a sinus infection or sinusitis. Common symptoms are:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Yellowish-green nasal or post-nasal drip
- Irritability or crankiness
- Pain in the areas around the eyes
The most common bacteria that cause acute sinusitis include:
- Streptococcus pneumonia
- Moraxella catarrhalis
- Haemophilus influenzae
In cases of infection, antibiotics are prescribed to help kill the bacteria. Acute viral sinusitis should not be treated with antibiotics; rather, medicines to control symptoms should be used. Rare complications of acute sinusitis, such as eye or brain infections should receive prompt emergency care.
Chronic Sinusitis in Children
The symptoms of chronic sinusitis last for more than 12 weeks. If your child has received treatment for sinusitis, but the symptoms haven’t subsided, they may require an ENT visit for further testing and diagnosis.
Treatment options for chronic sinusitis may include:
- Antibiotics that are prescribed for a longer period.
- Immunotherapy consisting of anti-allergy shots, may be required for children who have chronic sinusitis with frequent allergy flare-ups.
- Topical medication such as saline nasal sprays or rinses may help clear your child’s nasal passages. Saline sprays also help decongest phlegm and clear out mucus.
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays may help reduce inflammation.
- Adenoidectomy may relieve sinusitis from adenoid hypertrophy blocking the nasal airways.
- Endoscopic sinus surgery or balloon sinuplasty may be indicated in children with persistent chronic sinusitis not due to adenoid hypertrophy
Cystic Fibrosis-Related Sinusitis
Studies on Rhinosinusitis show that nearly all children with cystic fibrosis have chronic sinus conditions.
This is because patients with cystic fibrosis secrete thick, tenacious mucus, which can lead to mucus stagnation, bacterial colonization, chronic inflammation, mucosal edema, and ostium blockage.
Nasal polyps are growths in the nasal passage that contribute to congestion. They sometimes even grow into sinuses. Although conservative treatments can help manage CF-induced sinusitis in the early stages, as the condition progresses surgical intervention often becomes necessary.
Sinusitis in children can be diagnosed with the help of X-rays, CT scans of the sinuses, and tests on cultures taken from the sinuses.
If your child is suffering from symptoms of sinusitis and you are looking for an expert to talk to, don’t hesitate to reach out to a rhinologist in your local area.