Sinusitis in Babies

If your child has sinusitis, don’t panic. It is a common condition. An estimated 37 million people get sinus infections each year. There are various treatments available to help treat sinusitis. You may also choose to prevent your child from having sinusitis. In this article, we’ll tell you how.  

What is Sinusitis

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Sinusitis is common amongst children as it is an infection that results in the inflammation of the sinuses. Although rare, it is completely possible for babies to get sinus infections because their sinuses aren’t fully formed just yet.

Your baby might get a sinus infection if they have:

  • A cold.
  • Respiratory allergies such as hay fever.

Sinusitis can be caused by bacteria or by a virus. Some children may have recurrent sinusitis.

How to Spot a Sinusitis Infection

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If you may suspect that your child has sinusitis, they will likely have some combination of the below-mentioned symptoms:

  • Nasal congestion that persists for ten days or longer than ten days.
  • A nasal discharge that is thick yellow or green.
  • A cough during the day that worsens at night. 
  • Swelling around the nose and eye that may look similar to a shiner.
  • Jaw pain or pain behind the forehead or nose. 
  • A low-grade fever that is ongoing. 
  • Low energy.
  • Headache. 

If you see these symptoms, or if you suspect that they have a sinus infection for another reason, it’s best to consult your child’s doctor.

Can a Cold or Allergy Become Sinusitis

It is quite easy for a sinus infection to begin. The sinuses are air-filled cavities above as well as below your eyes and on either side of your nose. When you develop a cold or allergies, the lining of the sinus walls, that is normally thin, begins to swell.

It is possible for the swelling to block the passages between the sinuses as well as the nose, and that is when the problem arises. The mucus becomes trapped in the sinuses, and the warm, wet, and dark environment is a perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. 

How is Sinusitis Treated in Children

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The treatment for a sinus infection will depend on the cause of the sinusitis, as well as whether it’s a one-time infection or a recurring problem. Determining what kind of infection it is will be done by your child’s doctor as well as the best course of action. 

Take a look below at how treatment varies depending on the type of sinusitis.

Viral Infection

If the cause of your child’s sinusitis is because of a virus, medication won’t be necessary. Viruses clear up on their own without treatment. There are, however, steps you can take to help your child feel better.

This includes:

  • Giving your child painkillers: Administering the proper dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help alleviate any pain. It is best to always speak to your doctor before giving children under the age of two years any medications. 
  • Compress: Place a warm compress across the bridge of your child’s nose and cheeks. 
  • Nasal spray: Saline, which is saltwater, nasal spray, or drops, could help thin nasal congestion as well as bring some relief. This solution can be purchased at the pharmacy, or you may make your own. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) has a great “recipe” with exact instructions on how to make it.

Refrain from giving your child any over-the-counter cold medicine, as it won’t help and might have other side effects. 

Bacterial Infections

In the event that your child’s doctor says that your child has a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed for 10 to 21 days. If the symptoms have not gone away by then, or if they have improved for a short time and then recur, your child’s doctor may suggest using a different antibiotic. With luck, you’ll soon find an antibiotic that works. 

Recurring Sinus Infections

Sinus infections may be just as persistent as ear infections in some children, as well as just as difficult to treat. The doctor may choose to order X-rays in order to evaluate your child’s sinuses if they are having persistent sinus infections. 

If your child is suffering from chronic sinusitis, it may be because of the following reasons:

  • An underlying medical condition such as undiagnosed allergies, which are, therefore, left untreated. 
  • An anatomical problem within the nose that prevents the drainage, such as a deviated septum. 
  • Chronically infected adenoids, which are the lymph tissue that can be found behind the nose, this may leak bacteria into the sinuses.

To treat your child’s sinusitis, your child’s doctor will most likely refer you to an ear, nose, and throat doctor, known as an otolaryngologist. The otolaryngologist might request that your child have an X-ray or CAT scan done of their sinuses and possibly the adenoids too. 

There are specific treatments options that may be suggested, such as:

  • Irrigating the sinuses: This means that the sinuses will be flushed with a saline solution while your child is under general anesthesia. 
  • Removing the adenoids: This is sometimes done at the same time as irrigation. 
  • Endoscopic sinus surgery: This is a much more invasive procedure that improves the drainage passageways within the sinuses so that they are much less likely to become blocked. 

How to Prevent Sinusitis in the Future

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A secondary infection is often the cause of sinusitis. You may be able to prevent sinusitis by treating your child’s colds or allergies in a different manner.

  • Keep your home moist when your child has cold symptoms. The moisture will help the sinus linings and secretions thin. A humidifier will help with this. Just ensure that it is regularly cleaned to prevent mould growth. 
  • Ensure that your child stays well hydrated. Drinking adequate liquids has great benefits. 
  • Consult your doctor if you suspect that your child has any allergies. The doctor may be able to recommend various treatment options, including environmental as well as pharmaceutical. Long-term maintenance of allergies should help prevent future sinus infections. 
  • Ensure that your home is clear of known allergens. Cigarette smoke, pet dander as well as dust can all irritate the nasal passages and, in turn, contribute to sinusitis. 

Sinusitis In a Nutshell

Sinusitis is a common occurrence in both adults and children. Your child will benefit from having recurring sinusitis checked out by your doctor or pediatrician. Be sure to take preventative measures to ensure that the sinus infection won’t reoccur.