The sinuses are cavities within the facial bones. The sinuses allow our heads to weigh less than if they were solid, plus provide a buffer to trauma for more vital parts of the head. Sinusitis means inflammation within these cavities. Sinusitis can be acute -associated with pain, fever, illness. Other times the symptoms may not be as severe, but just over long periods of time. This is known as chronic sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis is a complication of a cold or upper respiratory infection. Tissues lining the sinuses become swollen and inflamed, interfering with the drainage of mucus. This creates an environment where bacteria can grow quickly. Most cases are treated as an outpatient with oral antibiotics. The sinuses evolve and grow with the child and there are periods where the sinus walls are not densely calcified making them prone to complications of sinusitis that are unique to children. Periorbital sinusitis can cause the eye to swell closed and protrude. Most of these are treated in the hospital and usually with antibiotics alone, but can require surgery. Teenagers, and some tweens, are developing their frontal sinuses, which are behind the forehead. Frontal sinusitis can be severe in this age group. Most episodes of acute sinusitis occur in previously healthy children. Dr. Sipp is very experienced in managing these difficulties.
Chronic sinusitis evolves when nasal inflammation is present for a long time and contribute to usually daily symptoms for three months or more of thick nasal discharge, nasal obstruction, fatigue, cough. Headaches or ear pain can be part of this but is not always present.
This can occur with or without allergies. Structural blockages such as large adenoids, large nasal turbinates, deviated nasal septums can contribute. Frequent colds and exposure to other children can contribute. Not all chronic sinusitis is caused by the same factors, so treatment is tailored to each individual. If allergies are present, optimization of that treatment is attempted. Antibiotics, usually for 2-3 weeks are used if not attempted prior to visit. Dr. Sipp often performs a cursory immune evaluation. Surgery can be used if necessary.
Call Dr. Sipp at (404) 591-1426 for more information or to schedule an appointment.