A sinus infection, or sinusitis, is caused by bacteria being trapped when the sinuses -- air-filled cavities behind the bones of the face -- become inflamed and swollen. The most common bacteria that cause sinus infections are streptococcus pneumoniae, moraxella catarrhalis, and haemophilus influenzae. Sinus infections often occur during the common cold, when mucus and bacteria drainage is blocked.
Sinus infections usually start as an upper respiratory infection, such as the common cold, with runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and cough. Mucus from the nose often starts out clear but then becomes thicker and stickier. Pain may develop because there is increased pressure in the blocked sinus, either in the forehead area, cheek area, between the eyes, or behind the nose. The pain can feel worse when the child leans forward, and if you press firmly or tap lightly over an affected sinus, there may be tenderness. In addition, the child may have a fever and headache.
Sinus infections are difficult to diagnose, but a runny nose lasting more than 10 to 14 days that is combined with coughing during the day and night can be a sign. Sometimes sinus infections come on suddenly, with severe nasal congestion, thick yellow or green mucus, and high fevers. Infection in the cheek sinuses may also cause pain that can be mistaken for a toothache. Chronic forehead headaches can be caused by sinus infections in older children. Sinus infections can sometimes spread to other parts near the sinuses, including the eyes, brain, and bones of the face.
Sinus infections often develop as a complication from the common cold. Even though it is difficult to prevent your child from getting a cold, you can take these steps to reduce infections and colds:
Always contract a doctor if your child has worsening symptoms of a sinus infection and if there is swelling or redness of the skin over the sinuses. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics as treatment; these should be taken as prescribed and completed for the entire course. Otherwise, consult your doctor before following these guidelines to make sure your child recovers:
If your child still has a fever after two or three days of antibiotic treatment, contact your doctor.
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