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What are sinuses?

The sinuses are cavities, or air-filled pockets located inside the face, near the nasal passages. Like the nasal passages, the sinuses are lined with mucous membranes. There are four sinuses:



Internal Side View of Sinuses

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an infection of the paranasal sinuses (sinuses near the nose). These infections usually occur after a cold or after an allergic inflammation. There are three types of sinusitis:

What causes sinusitis?

Sometimes, a sinus infection happens after an upper respiratory infection (URI) or common cold. The URI causes inflammation of the nasal passages that can block the opening of the paranasal sinuses, and result in a sinus infection. Allergies can also lead to sinusitis because of the swelling of the nasal tissue and increased production of mucus.

There are other possible conditions that can block the normal flow of secretions out of the sinuses and can lead to sinusitis including the following:

When the flow of secretions from the sinuses is blocked, bacteria may begin to grow. This leads to a sinus infection, or sinusitis.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

The symptoms of sinusitis depend greatly on the age of the child. The following are the most common symptoms of sinusitis. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

In younger children

In older children and adults

The symptoms of sinusitis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

How is sinusitis diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for sinusitis may include the following:

Treatment for sinusitis

The specific treatment for this condition depends on many factors and is tailored for each child. Please discuss your child's condition, treatment options and your preferences with your child's physician or healthcare provider.

Treatment of sinusitis may include the following:

Decongestants and antihistamines may or may not help the symptoms of sinusitis.

Reviewed by: Steven D. Handler, MD, MBE
Date: April 2009

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