Does My Child Have a Sinus Infection?

There are countless wonderful things about being a parent, but let’s face it: There are also a lot of different anxieties and concerns! One of the main things parents tend to worry about is whether their child has come down with something. There are a lot of different illnesses to be aware of, and if parents aren’t careful, they can find themselves worrying too much.

Sinus infections definitely fall into that category. Parents are constantly wondering if their child may have a sinus infection, and if so, what the proper course of treatment will be.

Before we get into specific signs and symptoms of sinusitis, it’s worth mentioning that adult sinusitis is different from pediatric sinusitis. That’s because the symptoms of sinusitis in children are frequently the result of other conditions.

That said, here are some of the common symptoms of a sinus infection in children:

  • Cold-like symptoms lasting 1-2 weeks, often accompanied by a slight fever
  • Yellow or green fluid draining from the nose
  • Headaches (this symptom is usually experienced by children age five or older)
  • Swelling in the area of the eyes
  • Unusually low energy (fatigue) and/or irritability
  • Post-nasal drip

It’s a well-known fact that children are especially vulnerable to infections of sinuses, nose, ears and throat. There are different types of infections, from viral to allergy-related. Sinus infections do not typically clear as quickly as other “bugs” and infections, so if your child’s condition doesn’t seem to be improving after a week, sinusitis may be the cause.

How sinusitis is diagnosed

If you visit an urgent care center for a possible case of sinusitis, the doctor will take a close look at your child’s nose, throat, and ears. X-ray will sometimes to used to determine the level of development in your child’s sinuses, and to verify the diagnosis of a sinus infection. Immune system problems, allergies, and any recent life changes will also be taken into the account as the diagnosis is made.

How it is treated

There are two basic types of sinusitis: Acute and chronic. Acute sinusitis is usually bacterial in nature, and is thus treated effectively with antibiotics. The doctor may also prescribe a special type of nasal spray to provide your child with some immediate relief of symptoms. It’s important to consult your doctor before giving your child any over-the-counter nasal sprays, as not all of these are safe for children.

Chronic sinusitis is a more complicated issue, and may be diagnosed if the condition has been ongoing for several months, or has recurred multiple times within a recent time period. In this case, a longer course of antibiotics – or even surgical intervention – may be called for. In the vast majority of cases, however, sinusitis is acute and responds will to antibiotic treatment.

Where to go for more information

It’s perfectly normal to be concerned about a possible episode of sinusitis in your child. Fortunately, most urgent care centers are well equipped to diagnose and treat sinusitis. It probably isn’t necessary to visit a specialist or make an appointment with a normal clinic. Your urgent care specialist should be able to diagnose and treat the problem, or else refer you to the correct specialist if further intervention is needed.