Sinusitis (sinus infections) in children can look different than sinusitis in adults. Children often have a cough, bad breath, crankiness, low energy, swelling around the eyes, and a thick yellow-green discharge.
Your child’s sinuses are not fully developed until late in the teen years. Pediatric sinusitis can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms may be caused by other problems, such as a viral illness or allergy.
If you take your child to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist, or otolaryngologist, they will examine your child’s ears, nose, and throat. Getting the child’s history and completing a physical examination usually leads to the correct diagnosis.
If your physician feels it is necessary to see your child’s sinus structure, they may do a CT scan at their visit. We use a low-dose radiation scanner in our office.
Acute Sinusitis—When bacterial sinusitis is present, most children respond very well to antibiotic therapy. Nasal steroid sprays or nasal saline rinses may also be prescribed for short-term relief of stuffiness.
If your child has acute bacterial sinusitis, symptoms should improve within the first few days of treatment with antibiotics. It is always important to complete the entire dose of your antibiotic treatment.
Chronic Sinusitis—If your child suffers for at least 12 weeks, they may have chronic sinusitis.
Surgery may be considered for a small percentage of children with severe or persistent sinusitis symptoms despite antibiotic therapy.