The sinuses are four sets of air-filled cavities located behind and around the nose and eyes. Our sinuses play an important role in our overall health, however, you may only become aware of these spaces when they begin hurting, in turn, underappreciating their value.
What do sinuses do?
So what exactly do sinuses do and how do they help us?
Sinuses make a person’s skull lighter (so that we can hold our head up) and filter out many irritating airborne particles in the air that’s breathed in. They also serve as a humidifier, moisturizing dry air before it reaches the lungs.
Here’s how they work: On the surface of the membranes lining the sinuses are tiny hairlike filaments (cilia) that engage in a constant sweeping motion to keep mucus moving through these passages. This is a good defense against infection. Mucus traps particles that enter the sinuses and the cilia sweep them toward the back of the nose, where they’re swallowed and broken down in the stomach. Each sinus is connected to the nasal passage by a thin duct that allows mucus to drain and air to flow. These passages can easily become blocked, however, making drainage difficult.
What is sinus congestion?
If your child is congested, he or she has mucus fluid accumulating in their sinuses. When something — say, secondhand cigarette smoke — irritates their nasal passages, the linings become inflamed. The fluid can’t drain easily into their nose, so it builds up in the sinuses.
Congestion isn’t the same as an infection, but it does create a breeding ground for bacteria. If the sinuses stay congested for a while, the multiplying bacteria may result in a sinus infection.
RELATED: Is It Allergies Or Sinus Infection?
What causes sinus problems in general?
Your child may experience sinus congestion when irritants inflame the nasal passages making it harder for mucus to drain properly.
Wondering what may be the cause of sinus problems in your young child?
Leading culprits for sinus problems in kids include the common cold, secondhand cigarette smoke, air pollution, dry air, cold air, fumes (such as those from paint or cleaning solutions), allergies, and emotional stress.
Whatsmore, if your child has a common nose malformation such as polyps or a deviated septum, he or she is more likely to