If your child’s sinuses are healthy, they are normally filled with air. But common Birmingham allergens or a bad cold can cause them to become full of mucus which can allow bacteria to grow, resulting in a sinus infection.
Sinus infections, however, shouldn’t happen often. If your child seems to be frequently suffering from painful swelling of the sinuses for long periods of time, he or she may have chronic sinusitis. And we all know how a constant runny nose, headache, and fever can be tough on your child –and you as concerned parents.
From nosebleeds to sleep apnea and sinusitis, the expert ENT specialists at Pediatric ENT Associates in Birmingham are well-versed in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of nasal conditions. PENTA’s group of doctors are all fully board-certified, and with years of experience in providing effective treatments tailored to the unique needs of children, you can rest assured that only the best care for your child is provided.
Could Your Child Have Chronic Sinusitis?
The most common symptoms of sinusitis are:
- Stuffy nose (including a feeling of fullness in the face)
- Runny nose
- Nasal blockage
- Painful sinuses
- Loss of smell
- Pus or thick, colored drainage in the nasal cavity
- Postnasal drainage (drainage down the back of the throat)
- Bad breath
- Dental pain
Sinusitis is most often short-term (it should only last less than four weeks and get better with the appropriate treatment). However, if symptoms persist for more than 12 weeks and exhibit previous infections that were inadequately treated, it may become a chronic condition.
It is important to speak to your pediatrician because the symptoms of chronic sinusitis are often similar to upper respiratory infections or the common cold –which most young children are prone to having. Getting an accurate diagnosis will help you make better decisions regarding your child’s care.
How Is Chronic Sinusitis Diagnosed In a Child?
A pediatrician will refer you to a pediatric ear nose and throat doctor (ENT) who will ask about your child’s health history and symptoms, then a physical exam of the ears, nose, and throat will be performed. The following are other tests that your child can undergo:
- Nasal endoscopy – a thin telescope will be used in order to see farther into the nasal passages
- X-rays – an X-ray of the sinuses can aid in effectively diagnosing the condition
- CT scan – more detailed than an X-ray exam, a scan will show thorough images of the nasal area
- Culture samples – a swab of nasal discharge will be taken and checked for bacteria or other microorganisms to help determine the appropriate antibiotic to be prescribed
How Is Chronic Sinusitis Treated?
Your child’s ENT physician will determine a specific treatment based on your child’s condition (age, overall health, and medical history), the extent of the sinus infection, your child’s tolerance for specific procedures and medications, and your expectations and preferences. Treatment options may include the following:
- Antibiotics – usually given for a 10 to 14-day course
- Nasal drops and sprays – inhaled corticosteroid medication, nasal sprays with antihistamines and decongestants, as well as saline sprays can be prescribed to loosen and clear the mucus
- Immunotherapy – shots may be performed if your child has nasal allergies. Allergy shots may aid in reducing his or her reactions to allergens such as mold, pollen, and dust mites
- Home therapy – there are things you can do at home to help with chronic sinusitis:
- Saline wash – a mixture of salt and water can help keep the nose and sinuses moist
- Fluids – hydrating with water or juice every hour or two will help thin the mucus, causing it to drain more easily
- Vaporizer – warm, moist air can help relieve symptoms. You can use a vaporizer or let your child inhale steam from a bowl of warm water
- Warm compress – warm, moist towels placed over the eyes, nose, and cheeks will provide relief to those with facial pain
At Pediatric ENT Associates in Birmingham, Alabama, our doctors have more than 60 years of combined experience in treating sinusitis conditions. If your child’s chronic sinusitis has become unresponsive to antibiotics, surgical intervention is usually recommended in order to open the blocked sinus pathways.
Our surgeons are highly trained in performing minimally invasive pediatric sinus surgery which aims to relieve symptoms while not disrupting the developing bones of your child’s face. To learn more about sinusitis, visit enthealth.org.
Schedule an Appointment With Our Pediatric ENT Specialists in Birmingham
Is your child suffering from the symptoms of chronic sinusitis? Our expert team of physicians can help diagnose and provide customized treatment plans for your child. Through our team’s use of the Children’s of Alabama Hospital and the use of an outpatient center near the central Birmingham hospital, patients are given the top of the line, easy-to-access medical care for their needs. To learn more about sinusitis or to schedule an appointment, contact our Birmingham office today.