Sinus infection turns into emergency brain surgery for MN girl

It's the time of year for cold and flu infections, so it wasn't a huge surprise when 10-year-old Allana Gabriel was diagnosed with Influenza A just before Christmas.

"It was just kind of a, 'Go home and drink a lot of fluids' and just kind of take care of her on our own," said Allana's mom, Julie. 

The 5th grader from Breezy Point started to feel better, but then got a lot worse. An intense headache prompted her family to make another visit to the doctor where Allana was diagnosed with a sinus infection and was put on an antibiotic.

Several days later, she had a seizure while doing her homework. 

"I feel like I blacked out... I just remember staring at my dad and sitting down on the bed," said Allana. 

She had to be rushed to Children's Minnesota in Minneapolis. Doctors discovered Allana's sinus infection had traveled to her brain, and she needed to have emergency surgery. A golf-ball-sized abscess had formed on her brain, all stemming from the initial infection.

Pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Kyle Halverson treated Allana and says while cases like this are rare, it is something parents and caregivers should be aware of.

"Sinus infections, colds, and things that are not getting better or are rapidly getting worse... need to be treated by family practitioners, pediatricians and ultimately referred to a place like Children's Minnesota," said Dr. Halverson. 

Allana is on the road to recovery and has been at the hospital for the last few weeks. Her mom is now sharing their story in the hopes of raising awareness for other parents.

"My message is just to take this all so seriously, especially this time of year," said Julie.