Recurring Illness in Baby’s First Year


At three months old, our daughter started experiencing recurring sinus and upper respiratory infections. She saw a pediatric ENT doctor and was tested for allergies. We saw her pediatrician regularly and visited several local urgent care facilities and the emergency room. However, it seemed as though we did not receive satisfactory answers as to why she was experiencing recurring illness with these frequent infections.

Pediatric ENT

Our daughter’s pediatric ENT checked her sinuses, adenoids, and tonsils with an endoscope. He noted that she had more mucus in her nose than normal as well as enlarged tonsils and adenoids. He also told us that he could not remove her tonsils because she was too young, but he could remove her adenoids when she was a year old. She had frequent follow-ups with her ENT as she continued to have sinus infections. He was only able to offer her an antibiotic after each time he checked her sinuses. He eventually recommended that she see an allergist for environmental allergy testing.


So we took her to Boston Children’s Hospital for allergy testing. The allergist said she was too young to have any environmental allergies. Allergies in children do not usually show up until they are about two years old. We wanted answers, so we asked him to do the skin prick test anyway to rule out allergies. Because we have two dogs at home, and both my husband and I have allergies, we wanted to make sure nothing was overlooked. The results of her skin prick test were negative – she did not have any indoor environmental allergies. Her allergist did not recommend testing for outdoor allergies at that time.

Urgent Care & Emergency Room

In between appointments with her team of doctors, we had to take a few trips for illness to urgent care and the emergency room. At times, her congestion was so severe, she seemed to have a hard time breathing. It also made her unable to eat and sleep well. Every time we took her to the ER, the doctors prescribed cough medicine and saline nasal spray. The medical professionals at urgent care were a little more helpful and prescribed antibiotics. But it was an ongoing cycle that seemed to stretch on forever.

The poor success rate of the doctor’s orders was really discouraging. At one point, she even started losing weight. She would get so congested from an illness that she was unable to take a bottle well. At times she had so much mucus in her nose and throat that she would cough so hard she would throw up. We were at our wit’s end with how to help her.

Adenoid Removal & Improvement

She had her adenoids removed right before her first birthday. It was a short, 20-minute procedure – probably more nerve-wracking for us than for her – with few risks. She came through with flying colors. But shortly after the procedure, she got another sinus infection. We were so disappointed – it seemed that it had not worked.

Her sinuses stayed congested and goopy for about two months after she had her adenoids out. We even took her back to the allergist thinking she may have food allergies when she broke out in a full-body rash. She was tested again for environmental allergies, but the results came back negative a second time. The allergist did not recommend testing for food allergies. However, after a surprise case of strep throat and another round of stronger antibiotics, her sinus infection (along with the strep of course) cleared up and has not returned since!

I share this story in hopes that it will be of some help to parents going through a similar situation with their children. It may feel like it will never end and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel at times. But I can attest that there truly is an end though your patience may be stretched to its limit. Many times you will receive a diagnosis eventually, or your child will outgrow it. But do not hesitate to ask all the questions or seek a second – or third – opinion. Do what is best for your child’s health and your peace of mind.


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