Nasal drainage (discharge can be clear, colored, watery, mucus-like, thin, and/or thick)
Cough (can be wet or dry; occurs during the day; may be worse at night)
These symptoms are similar to those of a viral upper respiratory infection (such as a cold). This makes sense, as sinus infections are often caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold. However, in up to 13 percent of children, the pediatric sinusitis will be caused by bacteria.
Because the nose and sinuses are connected, anything that causes swelling in the nose can also affect the sinuses. This increases the risk for sinusitis. Besides an upper respiratory infection, other things that increase the risk for sinus infections in children include allergies, nasal polyps, ear infections, and irritants.
Treatment options for pediatric sinusitis may include medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Irrigating the nose several times a day with saline may also be recommended. Decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal steroids are usually not recommended for treating symptoms of an acute sinus infection in children.
(Click Sinus Infections in Children for a closer look at this topic. This article gives an in-depth overview, including information on how long symptoms usually last, possible complications, and antibiotics that may be prescribed.)
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: ArthurSchoenstadt, MD
List of references (click here):
Revai K, Dobbs LA, Nair S, et al. Incidence of acute otitis media and sinusitis complicating upper respiratory tract infection: the effect of age. Pediatrics 2007; 119:e1408.
Wald EA, Dashefsky B, Byers C, et al. Frequency and severity of infections in day care. J Pediatr 1988; 112:540.
Wolf G, Anderhuber W, Kuhn F. Development of the paranasal sinuses in children: implications for paranasal sinus surgery. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 1993; 102:705.
Subcommittee on Management of Sinusitis and Committee on Quality Improvement. Pediatrics 2001;108:A40.
Wald ER, Milmoe GJ, Bowen A, et al. Acute maxillary sinusitis in children. N Engl J Med 1981; 304:749.
Kogutt MS, Swischuk LE. Diagnosis of sinusitis in infants and children. Pediatrics 1973; 52:121.
Fireman P. Diagnosis of sinusitis in children: emphasis on the history and physical examination. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1992; 90:433.
Manning SC. Pediatric sinusitis. Otolaryngol Clin North Am 1993; 26:623.
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