Allergy and Sinus Disorders

Infection of the upper respiratory tract produces symptoms of congestion, nasal discharge, cough, sore throat, malaise, and fever. It can be caused by both viruses and bacteria. Viruses causing colds are much more frequent in children than in adults.  While most adults can experience between 2-3 colds a year, children can average between 6-21 upper respiratory infections a year. Since between 0.5% and 5.0% of upper respiratory infections are complicated by sinus infection, children can be more prone to sinus infections.

Common symptoms of children with sinusitis include a low grade fever, bad breath, a prolonged cough, and nasal discharge. A variety of tools are available to aid in the diagnosis. Nasal endoscopes and CT scans are both used to help diagnose sinus conditions in children.

Treatment options include both medicine and surgery.  Prolonged courses of antibiotics with decongestants, saline nasal rinses and antihistamines (when appropriate) help to clear the majority of pediatric sinus infections.  Rarely children may need surgical procedures such as an adenoidectomy, sinus irrigation, or sinus surgery, to clear more persistent sinus infections.

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is the most common chronic medical condition of children in the United States. The incidence increases throughout childhood from less than 1% of infants, to 5% of 5-9 year olds, and 9% of 16 year olds. There is frequently a familial predisposition to develop allergies, which causes certain individuals to react in certain ways when exposed to certain microscopic airborne particles.  These particles may be pollen from plants, grasses or trees, or they may be dander from certain animals.  Dust and mold may also trigger allergic reactions.  Certain foods can also be an issue as well.

Laboratory tests may determine which substances provoke each patient the most.  From there various strategies can be employed to reduce or eliminate exposure to these irritants. For children who remain symptomatic a variety of topical and oral medications may be necessary to control or eliminate symptoms. Allergy shots (or immunotherapy) may be required for children who are especially symptomatic.

Appropriate treatment of allergies will improve quality of life and will also help reduce the frequency of sinus infections as well.  If your child suffers from allergies, please call your pediatrician, or request an appointment with Dr. Hoyt.