Prevent Children’s Sinusitis
| Murray Grossan, MD.
About the author: Dr. Grossan is an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon with the Tower Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and the founder of the Web based Grossan Sinus & Health Institute (http://www.grossaninstitute.com). He is author of Free Yourself from Sinus and Allergy Problems Permanently.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology – (ear nose and throat) in conjunction with the American Academy of Allergy is urging parents to take steps to prevent their kids from growing up with chronic sinusitis. Children are born with sinus cavities and they can be infected at any age.
Often sinus problems start in childhood. Number one cause may be the child blowing the nose too hard.
Parents are urged to teach their kids:
Blow the nose GENTLY or not at all. Heavy blowing spreads the bacteria to uninfected areas including the ears and irritates the delicate nasal membranes so they can’t function to protect against disease.
THE TWELVE RULES:
Here are 12 rules to teach the kids to avoid them growing up as a sinus patient – rules from the Tower ENT Group at Cedar Sinai Medical in Los Angeles.
- If you see a green drainage from one side of the nose only, think of a foreign body – a raisin or a nut. Best to have this removed by an ENT specialist.
- Insist your child blow his / her nose GENTLY
- Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding medications. Never stop the antibiotic before the recommended dose. This is how we develop drug resistant bacteria.
- Make sure your child is up on his immunizations.
- Try to avoid the child getting chilled.
- Don’t overheat the bedrooms.
- Child’s bedroom should preferably be as bare as possible. No moth flakes, insecticides, or dust makers. Any rugs should be washable every six weeks.
- Pets should be kept out of the bedroom as well as out of the bed.
- Moisturize the bedroom in cold or dry weather. Best method is to use pans of water for evaporation.
- Avoid nasal sprays with Benzalkonium or Thimerosal as these may irritate the nose.
- Avoid smoking in the child’s presence
- If there is considerable dust, use a Hepa filter. Do not use an ionizer or a deodorizer.
KEEP MOISTURE BELOW 50%
There are some common sense steps to prevent a life of sinus misery for your child. It is very important to keep the moisture at no more than 50%. If the moisture goes above 50% this encourages mold growth. Check for leaks that may grow mold. A regular light bulb turned on in a damp closet or basement is a mold deterrent.
Colored discharge from one nostril only suggests a foreign body. Needs to be removed.
Yellow green drainage that persists for more than a week suggests a sinus infection. Three of these episodes / year suggest a chronic sinus infection.
If your very young child has a persistent nasal / sinus infection, ask your doctor about performing Proetz sinus irrigation. This is an inexpensive treatment parents can do at home. Here the child is placed with his head lowered and dilute nose drops are placed in one nostril and suctioned from the other with a simple nasal aspirator till all the colored pus is removed. Complete directions at NeilMed Pharmaceuticals.
For the child 5 or older who has persistent sinus drainage, ask your doctor about using pulsatile irrigation to remove the pus and thick mucus to allow the natural healing to take place. Units such as the Hydro Pulse Nasal / Sinus Irrigator and NeilMed Sinugator are gentle enough for kids to use age 5 or older, and most kids (and adults) appreciate the relief they get. Because the pressure is regulated exactly right, it is much safer than sniffing from the hand or syringes where the pressure can be too high.
IS IT ALLERGY?
Is it allergy? It is very important to follow your pediatrician’s instructions regarding the age at which foods are started. This helps avoid allergies. Your doctor’s advice re breast feeding is also an allergy preventer.
If your child is sneezing, eyes look puffy, but he is free of fever or fatigue, note the date on your calendar. Often you can tell what the allergy is due to by using the pollen calendars available on the net such as at www.pollen.com
Often the allergic child has what we call the Allergic Salute – the back of the hand and sleeve is continuously wiping the nose with a wide motion.
Your doctor may recommend one of the cortisone sprays. At this time these nasal sprays have been in use for decades. Or doctor may recommend one of the allergy medication sprays. Today there are sprays that combine a cortisone with an allergy medication. Of course, any medication is best not taken if it isn’t necessary.
Morning sneezing and hacking? Usually this is an effort of the allergic child to get warm. Prevent this by having warm drink in bed before getting out of bed. Usually a thermos does well. Avoid stepping on an icy cold floor – that sudden temperature change causes sneezing.
By having that warm drink – breakfast in bed – often the full day of sneezing may be avoided.
If the child has asthma, it is even more critical to prevent and clear sinus problems.
Does your child have sinusitis or enlarged adenoids? Adenoids are the tonsil- like tissue in back of the nose. With sinus infection they may enlarge and block nasal breathing. Or they may enlarge on their own usually accompanied by enlarged tonsils. Before you rush to have surgery for this condition, ask your doctor about measures to shrink the adenoids. Clearing a sinus condition is the first step in getting adenoids back to normal size. Other methods include anti-inflammatory medications, often combined with antibiotics.
Using the Proetz sinus irrigation method to be sure to clear any sinus infection can be effective in clearing an enlarged adenoid.
You don’t need an X ray to determine if adenoids are a problem: the child snore, gets ear infections, is cranky, tired, has bad breath. Occasionally they are poor eaters.
In a recent report, some of the children diagnosed with attention deficit syndrome, were totally normal after adenoid surgery cleared their mouth breathing.
Your doctor may recommend fruit enzymes for sinus-adenoid problem. Papain from papaya or Bromelain from pineapple, such as the product Clear ease™. These are called proteolytic enzymes because they reduce swollen tissue and thin the mucus.
One reason the Allergy and ENT groups want to call attention to sinus and other childhood ailments is so that the parents can appreciate that a child who is constantly mouth breathing and is snoring, is not a healthy child. He / she may not sleep well, have bad breath, and be constantly fatigued, cranky, or run down. Such a child deserves care so they can grow up and not be one of the 35 million persons who now have sinusitis.
Despite the daily barrage of advertisements, the best thing for your child’s cold is still chicken soup, tea with lemon – honey, and bed rest. For best information, consult your doctor.