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Ethmoiditis (orbital subperiosteal abscess) in children: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About ethmoiditis (orbital subperiosteal abscess) in children

Ethmoiditis is an acute condition characterised by infection of the ethmoid sinus. Sinuses are air-filled spaces lined with the mucous membrane and placed in the skull. Ethmoid sinus is located in the area between eyes. Infection of the ethmoid sinus results in swelling of its mucous membrane, causing increased mucous production and nose block. Sometimes the ethmoidal infection can spread to the contents of eyeball and form pus collection. This condition is called orbital subperiosteal abscess.

Ethmoiditis (orbital subperiosteal abscess) in children: Incidence, age and sex

Ethmoiditis is a condition seldom encountered in the general population and may be seen in any age group. However, it is more prevalent in smokers and individuals who have allergic rhinitis.

Signs and symptoms of ethmoiditis (orbital subperiosteal abscess) in children: Diagnosis

The prominent symptom of ethmoiditis is persistent headache especially between eyes, accompanied by running nose, sore throat, sneezing or watering of eyes. Many individuals may exhibit swelling and redness at the medial corners of the eyes. Post nasal discharge, cough or loss of sense of smell may also be complained occasionally.

It is advisable to consult a specialist who will conduct a detailed physical examination. Investigations like complete blood test or pathological examination of nasal discharge may aid in detecting the condition. However, CT scan of sinuses is the confirmatory test to diagnose ethmoiditis.

Causes and prevention of ethmoiditis (orbital subperiosteal abscess) in children

Ethmoiditis may result from common cold or flu or upper respiratory infections which can be viral or bacterial in origin. Very rarely, structural abnormalities in nose and throat may also lead to this condition.

Preventive measures like frequent washing of the hands and covering of the mouth while coughing may inhibit spreading of this infection.

Ethmoiditis (orbital subperiosteal abscess) in children: Complications

Ethmoditis is an acute infection which is usually self-limiting. However, occasionally it may spread to the eye sockets and result in pus forming lesions. This condition is termed as orbital subperiosteal abscess which if neglected, can even cause blindness. Very rarely, it may also spread to the skull bones causing osteomyelitis of the skull or even the brain resulting in meningitis or brain abscess.

Ethmoiditis (orbital subperiosteal abscess) in children: Treatment

The treatment modalities of ethmoiditis include supportive therapy, medications and surgical intervention. The supportive therapy includes consuming plenty of fluids and using a humidifier in room which may help in improving congestion and preventing dehydration. Medications like antibiotics may be prescribed especially in individuals who are suffering from bacterial respiratory infections. These can be administered intravenously or taken by mouth, depending upon the condition of the individual. Other medications like nasal decongestants, anti-allergics or mucolytic drugs may also be helpful. Surgical drainage of the pus may be needed to done in cases where pus pockets are formed in eye sockets. Most of the individuals recover completely following timely management.