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5 Things Parents Need To Know About Sinus Infections

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Sinus infections are a common problem in children, but they can be very stressful for parents. Here's what you need to know about sinus infections.

What is a sinus?

A sinus is an air-filled space inside the face. Everyone has four of these: two between the eyes and one on each side of the nose. Sinuses are connected to the nasal passage. They are responsible for making the mucus that keeps your nose clean when you're healthy, and stuffs up your nose when you have a cold.

How do sinuses get infected?

The sinuses are connected to the nasal cavity by very small holes called ostia. When you're healthy, the size of these holes are adequate, but when you get a cold, they can swell shut from the inflammation. If mucus can't drain from the sinuses, the sinuses can get infected. 

What are the symptoms?

It can be hard to tell if your child has a sinus infection, since the symptoms are similar to colds and allergies. If your child has a cold that lasts for more than two weeks, has yellow-green phlegm, or swelling around the eyes, a sinus infection may be to blame. 

How is it treated?

Sinus infections are sometimes treated with antibiotics, though they don't do much. According to WebMD, patients who receive antibiotics don't do any better than patients who don't get them, and most people recover without needing this medication. If your child's doctor doesn't want to prescribe antibiotics, don't demand them. 

Nasal decongestant sprays are effective, and will help to clear out your child's sinuses. Saline sprays or drops may also be prescribed. After a few days of treatment, he or she will start feeling better. 

What if the sinus infection comes back?

In some children, sinus infections will keep coming back. If your child gets more than 4 to 6 sinus infections in a year, that's a sign that something could be wrong with the sinuses. You will be sent to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist, who may recommend surgery to fix the sinuses. If surgery is needed, the specialist will enlarge the holes that connect the sinuses to the nasal passage. This will keep them from getting blocked. 

Sinus infections are common, but the treatment is usually straightforward. If your child gets a sinus infection, all they will likely need is an appointment with your family doctor or Sinus Center-Idaho

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