Sinus Infections in Children
Risk Factors for Sinus Infections in ChildrenBecause the nose and sinuses are connected, anything that causes swelling in the nose -- an infection, an allergic reaction, or another type of immune reaction -- can also affect the sinuses. This increases the risk for sinusitis.
A viral upper respiratory infection is the most common reason why a child gets a sinus infection. Other things that increase the risk for sinus infections in children include:
- Allergies (hay fever, seasonal allergies, year-round allergies)
- An obstruction in the nose, such as a polyp or deviated septum
- Infection of the ear or throat
- Irritants such as dry air, tobacco smoke, or chlorine
- Certain medical conditions, including cystic fibrosis, primary ciliary dyskinesia, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and HIV/AIDS
- Sudden changes in pressure, such as a descent in an airplane.
Children in daycare are also more likely to get sinus infections.
Symptoms of a Sinus Infection in ChildrenSigns or symptoms of an acute viral sinus infection in children are similar to those of an upper respiratory infection. They may include:
- Nasal drainage (discharge can be clear, colored, watery, mucus-like, thin, and/or thick)
- Postnasal drip
- Nasal congestion
- Cough (can be wet or dry; occurs during the day; may be worse at night).
When sinuses are infected with bacteria, the symptoms tend to last longer and/or be more severe.
(Click Symptoms of a Sinus Infection in Children to learn more about possible signs of a bacterial sinus infection in children, along with complications that can occur.)