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Sinusitis in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Sinusitis is inflammation or infection of your child's sinuses. Sinusitis is most often caused by a virus. Acute sinusitis may last up to 30 days. Chronic sinusitis lasts longer than 90 days. Recurrent sinusitis means your child has sinusitis 3 times in 6 months or 4 times in 1 year.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child's eye and eyelid are red, swollen, and painful.
- Your child cannot open his or her eye.
- Your child has vision changes, such as double vision.
- Your child's eyeball bulges out or your child cannot move his or her eye.
- Your child is more sleepy than normal, or you notice changes in his or her ability to think, move, or talk.
- Your child has a stiff neck, a fever, or a bad headache.
- Your child's forehead or scalp is swollen.
Call your child's doctor if:
- Your child's symptoms get worse after 5 to 7 days.
- Your child's symptoms do not go away after 10 days.
- Your child has nausea and is vomiting.
- Your child's nose is bleeding.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Your child's symptoms may go away on their own. Your child's healthcare provider may recommend watchful waiting for 3 days before starting antibiotics. Your child may need any of the following:
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines your child uses to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your child's doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him or her. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
- Nasal steroid sprays may help decrease inflammation in your child's nose and sinuses.
- Antibiotics help treat or prevent a bacterial infection.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage your child's symptoms:
- Use a humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for your child to breathe and help decrease his or her cough.
- Help your child rinse his or her sinuses. Use a sinus rinse device to rinse your child's nasal passages with a saline (salt water) solution or distilled water. Do not use tap water. A sinus rinse will help thin the mucus in your child's nose and rinse away pollen and dirt. It will also help reduce swelling so your child can breathe normally. Ask your child's healthcare provider how often to do this.
- Have your older child sleep with his or her head elevated. Place an extra pillow under your child's head before he or she goes to sleep to help the sinuses drain. Ask if your child is old enough to sleep with an extra pillow under his or her head.
- Give your child liquids as directed. Liquids will thin the mucus in your child's nose and help it drain. Ask your child's healthcare provider how much liquid to give your child and which liquids are best for him or her. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine.
Prevent the spread of germs:
- Help your child avoid others when he or she is sick. Some germs spread easily and quickly through contact. Have your child stay home from school or daycare. Ask when it is okay for your child to return.
- Wash your and your child's hands often with soap and water. Encourage your child to wash his or her hands after using the bathroom, coughing, or sneezing.
Follow up with your child's doctor as directed:
Your child may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.