Can children suffer from sinus infections?

Your child’s sinuses are not fully developed until age 20. However, children can still suffer from sinus infection. Although small, the maxillary (behind the cheek) and ethmoid (between the eyes) sinuses are present at birth. Sinusitis is difficult to diagnose in children because respiratory infections are more frequent, and symptoms can be subtle. Unlike a cold or allergy, bacterial sinusitis requires a physician’s diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to prevent future complications.

The following symptoms may indicate a sinus infection in your child:

  • a “cold” lasting more than 10 to 14 days, sometimes with low-grade fever
  • thick yellow-green nasal drainage
  • post-nasal drip, sometimes leading to or exhibited as sore throat, cough, bad breath, nausea and/or vomiting
  • headache, usually not before age 6
  • irritability or fatigue
  • swelling around the eyes

If these symptoms persist despite appropriate medical therapy, care should be taken to seek an underlying cause. The role of allergy and frequent upper respiratory infections should be considered.

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