What is nasal polyps?

Nasal Polyps
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Nasal polyps in children: Overview

A nasal polyp is a lump of tissue that grows into the nasal passages. One or more polyps may block the nasal passages. This makes it hard for your child to breathe. The polyps also can reduce your child's sense of smell.

Your doctor may treat small polyps with nasal sprays or pills that contain corticosteroids. These are medicines that can reduce swelling. Nasal polyps can be a long-term problem. Surgery is sometimes needed to remove them.

Nasal polyps

A nasal polyp is a mass of swollen, mucus-covered tissue that grows out from the sinuses into the nasal passages inside the nose. One or more polyps may appear at the same time and block the nasal passages, making it difficult for a person to breathe and reducing the sense of smell.

Nasal polyps commonly develop in people who have chronic sinus infections.

Small polyps can usually be treated with nasal sprays containing corticosteroids. If polyps do not respond to treatment with a nasal spray or other medicines, they may need to be removed surgically. But even when treated successfully, polyps frequently return.

How can you care for nasal polyps in children?

  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with a medicine.
  • If your child has asthma or allergies (or both), make sure your child avoids things that make the problem worse. These include pollen and dust. Asthma and allergies make it harder to breathe.
  • Use saline (saltwater) nasal washes to help keep your child's nasal passages open. This washes out mucus and allergens. You can buy saline nose washes at a grocery store or pharmacy. Follow the instructions on the package.

Nasal polyps in children: When to call

Call your doctor if:

  • Your child has increased trouble breathing (more than a stuffy nose).
  • Your child has symptoms of a sinus infection, such as:
    • Pain and pressure in the face along with a stuffy or blocked nose.
    • Drainage from your nose or down the back of your throat.
    • A fever.
    • Tooth pain or a headache.

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