Sinus infections are common in children. They are usually manifested by thick discolored drainage, cough, bad breath, headaches, irritability, and sometimes a low-grade fever. Daycare and exposure to tobacco smoke are often common precipitating factors. Upper respiratory tract infections can sometimes convert into a prolonged sinus infection.
Nasal saline drops and nasal sprays may be used for symptomatic treatment. Children do respond well to antibiotic treatment. Underlying allergies should also be treated.
If the child has recurrent bouts of sinusitis or chronic sinusitis, ENT consultation is recommended. Sometimes a CAT scan can be done to evaluate the individual sinus cavities in more detail and assess the transitional spaces for structural changes. Underlying allergies or immune dysfunction may be contributing factors as well.
Conservative endoscopic sinus surgery and balloon sinuplasty are options for chronic sinusitis or recurrent sinusitis in children. It allows us to open the narrow sinus drainage pathways. It is well tolerated in children and quite effective in reducing the frequency and severity of sinus infections. Mucopus trapped within the blocked sinus cavities can be cultured during surgery, and the sinuses washed out thoroughly. Sometimes an adenoidectomy will also be carried out for chronic adenoiditis contributing to postnasal drainage, sinusitis, cough, and bad breath.