Symptoms of Sinusitis in Children and Treatment

Sinusitis in children causes nasal discharge, bad breath, and headaches. The infection is more common during the school season and the winter months.
Symptoms of Sinusitis in Children and Treatment

Last update: 22 September, 2021

Sinusitis in children is a fairly frequent complication of a respiratory condition such as a cold. In fact, estimates indicate that about 10% of children with colds may have it at some point. It’s mild and easy to treat for the most part.

The paranasal sinuses are cavities in the skull, close to the nose. They’re lined by mucous membranes and the space is filled with air. What happens in sinusitis is this mucosa inflames due to infection.

In many cases, people with this condition don’t even obtain a diagnosis and so it goes away on its own. Treatment is necessary for others though. Today’s article will explain everything you need to know about sinusitis in children.

The symptoms of sinusitis in children

It can be acute or chronic. The main characteristic of the latter is a symptom duration of more than three months. Most frequently, it arises about 5 to 7 days after a cold.

It usually manifests with fever and the symptoms are practically the same as those of a common cold. For example, it’s normal for a sick child to have a stuffy runny nose. In addition, they usually have a cough that worsens at night.

A headache is another characteristic symptom. In fact, some children feel pressure behind their eyes or even a toothache. It’s due to the force inside the sinuses, due to inflammation, and mucus. Furthermore, it may manifest as bad breath, loss of smell, or even alterations in the sensitivity of the face.

A doctor looking into a child's mouth.
Children usually experience sinusitis after a cold or advanced pharyngitis.

What causes sinusitis in children?

This condition is more frequent in children than in adults. It seems to be due to the fact that the sinuses are smaller in the little ones and the hole through which the secretions are drained as well. Thus, it’s easier for it to become obstructed and the mucus not to drain out as it should.

Bacteria grow more easily and infection occurs when the mucus becomes trapped inside the sinuses. The obstruction may be due to a deviated nasal septum or polyps at the exit of the duct.

In turn, there are a number of factors that increase the risk of sinusitis. For example, children with allergic rhinitis or with a weak immune system. Likewise, the risk of contagion increases at daycare centers.

Three children playing with balls.
Daycare centers and schools favor the spread of respiratory diseases.

Treatment of sinusitis in children

First of all, we must say there are certain ways to prevent this condition in children. Using humidifiers at home during the winter is a good option. This is because it’s easier for the mucosa to become irritated when the air is too dry.

In addition, note that sinusitis itself isn’t contagious. What is contagious is the cold that may have caused it. Thus, it’s recommended to keep children away from those who have a cold.

Viral sinusitis doesn’t require antibiotics. Instead, this patient requires nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain, and saline solutions to clear the nose. Bacterial sinusitis in children does require antibiotics.

Sinusitis is pretty much benign but it doesn’t hurt to take some preventive measures

Consult a doctor if you notice any signs of sinusitis in your children. A parent must be alert, be able to detect the onset of the symptoms, and act accordingly.

Respiratory symptoms are more frequent during the winter and school seasons. Colds, angina, otitis media, and even sinusitis hang around schools. Thus, pay attention to a doctor who says the child must stay at home and follow their instructions in order to stop the spread of germs and not infect other children.

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