Children’s sinuses are still developing until well into the teen years. This makes them susceptible to sinus and allergy conditions, which can be either acute (brief and temporary) or chronic (long lasting). Pediatric sinus and allergy conditions are tricky to diagnose since the symptoms so closely resemble those of other illnesses.
What are the Common Symptoms?
Pediatric sinusitis (the name given to sinus infections) is associated with a variety of cold-like symptoms, including runny nose, thick yellow-green nasal discharge, cough, congestion, sore throat, post-nasal drip, fever, headache, irritability, nausea, vomiting, bad breath, swollen eyes, and fatigue. While there is no sure-fire way to tell if your child is suffering from sinusitis without a visit to the pediatrician, if the symptoms don’t clear up within 10-14 days there’s a good chance that is the case.
Allergies present similar signs, and are pretty common. They are caused by a number of factors, including seasonal pollen from plants, trees, and weeds; pet dander; dust mites; mold; tobacco smoke; food; and certain chemicals.
How are Sinus & Allergy Conditions Diagnosed?
A visit to your child’s pediatrician will confirm whether he or she is suffering from a sinus condition or allergies. In addition to a physical exam, the doctor will examine your child’s ears, nose, and throat, and may order diagnostic tests (such as a CT scan) to verify the diagnosis and examine how blocked the sinuses are. Allergy skin testing or blood tests will help determine whether a specific allergen is responsible.
ENT treatment is based upon the underlying condition causing your child’s symptoms. Antibiotics, nasal sprays, and saline drops are all effective remedies for acute sinusitis. Chronic cases may require additional medications or surgery. It’s up to your child’s doctor to determine the best course of action.
Allergies can often be treated with antihistamines, decongestants, and other medications. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) is sometimes recommended in extreme cases when medical ENT treatment is ineffective.
Allergies are ranked among the most common chronic conditions affecting populations worldwide. Symptoms begin then the body’s immune system over reacts to harmless invaders that are typically in the form of pollen, pet dander, dust, molds or foods. These antigens trigger cells to release histamine and other chemicals leading to an inflammatory response. Symptoms range from seasonal annoyances, that include itchy eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion and sneezing to life threatening systemic reactions. The “Garden State” boats some of the highest pollen counts during spring and fall contributing to chronic sinus disease. Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy is dedicated to address your allergy concerns by providing safe and relatively painless diagnosis as well as convenient and cost effective treatment.
TESTING: Skin Testing involves a relatively painless procedure using a multi-prick device to identify allergy to weeds, trees, grass, dust mite, pet dander and mold spores. Testing takes approximately 20-30 minutes and results are identified during the visit.
Food Testing involves an initial visit to determine suspect food groups. An appropriate lab requisition will be given and requires no fasting. (Also an option for patients who cannot discontinue acid reflux medications for skin testing).
TREATMENT: Subcutaneous injections are offered at two convenient locations with flexible scheduling to fit your busy lifestyle. Sublingual therapy (self-administered drops under the tongue) are offered as a cost effective and convenient method of treatment for those patients who cannot adhere to a weekly shot schedule.
Pediatric Testing is available for children three years and older.
Pet Allergies: We offer sublingual therapy to neutralize symptoms as an alternative to giving up your family pet.
Food allergy vs. intolerances: testing to distinguish allergy from intolerances as well as screening for Celiac Disease.