Could your child have chronic sinusitis?

September 10, 2018
TexomaCare Ear, Nose, Throat Specialist and Plastic Surgeon Terry Yeung, DO, shares information, helpful tips and treatment options.

Does your child struggle with frequent nasal drainage, headaches, facial pain and a poor sense of smell? If so, it could be sinusitis.​ TexomaCare Ear, Nose, Throat Specialist and Plastic Surgeon Terry Yeung, DO, shares information, helpful tips and treatment options.

Q. What is chronic sinusitis?
It is a condition where the sinuses are inflamed and cannot drain properly. This causes mucus to build up within the sinuses, which can lead to a sinus infection. It is most commonly caused by a virus, but when fluid builds up in the sinus, it can turn bacterial and require antibiotics. Sinusitis is most often acute, however, it becomes chronic in nature if it occurs three to four times per year, or lasts more than 12 weeks in one year.

Q. What are the symptoms of chronic sinusitis?
Many times it can be difficult to tell if the child has a cold or sinusitis, but if it lasts for more than 10 to 14 days, it may be sinusitis. Patients may have nasal congestion/obstruction; thick green nasal drainage; a poor sense of smell; cough due to the drainage; facial pain, swelling or tenderness near the eyes, cheeks and forehead; and sometimes a low-grade fever. Other symptoms may include irritability, pain or pressure in the ears, an aching feeling in the upper jaw, sore throat, and bad breath.

Q. How is sinusitis treated?
An effective first course of treatment consists of antibiotics, nasal saline irrigation/rinse and nasal corticosteroids. Rinsing the sinuses helps clear the passages from irritants such as pollen, dust and mucus. If drainage is observed on physical exam, a culture can be obtained to determine what type of bacteria is present so the appropriate antibiotic can be prescribed. If this avenue of treatment is not successful, there are several procedures that may be considered.

Q. What other treatments are there?
If the patient fails conservative medical therapy, other treatments that may be considered are an adenoidectomy, balloon sinuplasty or endoscopic sinus surgery. A CT scan can also be performed to rule out anatomical anomalies. Extracting the adenoids removes a potential source of bacteria. Balloon sinuplasty entails dilation of the sinus drainage pathways to prevent future infections. Lastly, functional endoscopic sinus surgery can be considered, which involves actual removal of tissue to facilitate better sinus drainage.

Is your child suffering from chronic colds and sinus issues? Call our physician referral service at 903.416.DOCS(3627) to find a doctor.