As your child is still growing and developing, their immune system is constantly facing new bacteria and viruses that it must build immunities against. As a result, children are often more prone to falling ill due to a bacterial or viral infection.

One of the most common bacterial or viral infections your child may experience is sinusitis (rhinosinusitis), which causes one or more of their sinuses to become inflamed. When this happens, they display symptoms such as fever, cough, yellow or green nasal discharge, facial pain, congestion, and swelling around the eyes. 

Learn More: What can I do to Treat Chronic Sinusitis?

The Symptoms Of Paediatric Sinusitis

Diagnosing sinusitis in children can be difficult since the symptoms appear similar to the common cold and may be caused by other issues, such as an allergy or viral infection. However, if your child exhibits the following symptoms, they may have a sinus infection:

If you notice any of the following symptoms, please consult a paediatric ENT specialist immediately to ensure your child receives prompt treatment. 

Primary Causes Of Paediatric Sinusitis

Common Causes Of Paediatric Sinusitis

Various factors can trigger paediatric sinusitis. Therefore, it is essential to understand the primary causes of the condition to help minimise your child’s risks. Let our child ENT specialist, Dr Jenica Yong, share the common causes of sinusitis in children. 

Cause #1: Respiratory Infections

Due to their developing immune system, your child may be more susceptible to colds and other respiratory infections. When they contract these common illnesses, the lining of their sinuses can become swollen, trapping mucus and other infectious bacteria, which infect the sinuses, resulting in sinusitis. 

Cause #2: Air Pollutants

Does your child have an allergy? In that case, you might want to take extra care as environmental factors, like air pollution, cigarette smoke, and pollen, can irritate their nose and sinuses, leading to inflammation, swelling, and blocked sinuses. The result is acute and chronic sinusitis. 

In particular, hay fever is one of the most common childhood allergies that may cause sinusitis and even ear infections. Furthermore, air pollutants can damage the cilia in the nasal canals, which are responsible for moving mucus through the sinuses, leading to a higher likelihood of childhood sinus infection.

Cause #3: Swimming

While swimming is an excellent way for your child to stay active and learn a valuable life skill, be careful of chlorinated or unsanitary water infiltrating your child’s nose and sinuses, which may cause sinusitis. To keep your child safe, instruct them on the proper breathing techniques while swimming and ensure the swimming pools you visit maintain adequate ventilation to prevent chlorine in the water from irritating their sinuses. 

Cause #4: Enlarged Adenoids

Adenoids, which are located at the back of our throat near the nasal passage, help catch and eradicate bacteria and viruses that may enter our body when we eat or breathe. However, this tissue may become inflamed and swollen during the process, resulting in blocked mucous in the sinuses, which can quickly lead to an infection. 

If your child’s adenoids are frequently enlarged or infected, they may need to consult a paediatric ENT specialist to have them removed to prevent further issues down the line, such as ear infections, chronic sinusitis, difficulty breathing, and sleep apnea.

Cause #5: Deviated Septum

Our nasal septum separates the nose into two separate chambers. However, when this cartilage is off-centre or crooked (termed deviated septum), it can result in abnormal nasal discharge and breathing issues, contributing to frequent sinus infections and even causing sleep apnea in young children. Some are born with this condition. Meanwhile, others may develop it as a result of a medical treatment or injury.

Diagnosing And Treating Sinusitis In Children

Treating Sinusitis using saline nasal spray

The occasional childhood sinus infection should clear up with antibiotic therapy (for bacterial infection) or over-the-counter prescription antihistamines (use and dose must be determined by a doctor). Nasal steroid sprays or nasal saline (saltwater) drops may also be prescribed to relieve short-term stuffiness. 

However, if your child suffers from chronic sinusitis, consider scheduling a paediatric ENT evaluation. A child ENT specialist can assess their condition and recommend the appropriate medical treatment to help prevent sinus infections from recurring, allowing them to breathe easier and enhancing their quality of life.

If your child is suffering from persistent sinus infections that you would like to have examined or treated, do not hesitate to contact our ENT clinic in Singapore to schedule a consultation with Dr Yong today.


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