In this era, every runny nose has become alarming. As parents, we’re always ready when our little ones come down with the case of the sniffles, but when do we need to do more than just offer a tissue and loving words?
Each year, approximately 7% of children with respiratory issues have a sinus infection. This may not seem like a large number, but if a parent writes these issues off as a cold–which may pass in a week or less–and your child is suffering with an infection, they can be struggling to find nasal breathing relief for two weeks or longer. All the while, even though a sinus infection itself isn’t transmissible, they often stem from a common cold, which can be passed around from person to person in your family until proper treatment is administered.
A sinus infection typically starts like a cold but advances. Mucus becomes green or yellow. Expect a headache or severe sinus pressure, along with dark circles and/or swelling of the eyes. Bad breath, along with sensitive ears, teeth, and general facial tenderness are fairly common as well. For sinus relief, try a warm washcloth on the face, or a cool humidifier overnight. Nasal flushes and medication can be administered if your child is old enough, but if a fever develops or worsens, be sure to call your pediatrician or ENT.
While children are, of course, prone to getting colds due to their constant contact with one another, staying ahead of the curve is more important than ever in today’s world. Prevention goes a long way, with social distancing, masks, and sanitizer, but when prevention isn’t enough, the correct treatment with your provider is key.
Sinus infections in children can be anything from run-of-the-mill to a chronic case lasting a dozen weeks or more to a recurrent case where your child gets 3 or more cases per year, but only your doctor will know the difference. Treatment and prevention can go a long way to aiding your child in recovery, especially when a cold isn’t just a cold.