Sinusitis and Nasal Polyps in Children

Complete Care for the Full Range of Nasal and Sinus Conditions

When your child’s symptoms move beyond the congestion and sniffling of a common cold to more serious nasal and sinus infections and concerns, they need specialized care from a team of experts. Duke Children’s pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialists diagnose the cause of your child’s painful symptoms and provide appropriate treatment. Our goal is to help your child feel like himself or herself again.

What Causes Nasal and Sinus Problems

A chronic cough, facial pain, loud breathing, loss of sense of smell, and discolored mucus can all be signs that your child is experiencing a nasal or sinus condition. If these or other common cold-like symptoms last more than 14 days, a visit to a pediatric ENT -- a doctor who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat -- is recommended.

It may be that allergies or sinusitis, an infection of the sinuses, is to blame. Or your child may have a blockage in his or her nasal passage that is causing a buildup of fluid and pressure. This may due to:

  • enlarged adenoids -- often called the third tonsil and located in the very back of the nose
  • nasal polyps, which are soft growths that develop on the lining of the nasal or sinus passages
  • a deviated septum, which occurs when the wall that separates the nostrils is crooked
  • in very rare cases, a nasal or sinus tumor



Diagnosing the cause of your child’s symptoms is the first step in determining the most appropriate treatment. Duke pediatric ENT doctors -- also called pediatric otolaryngologists -- use advanced testing techniques if a serious concern is suspected. Testing and procedures may include:

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