Sinus Infections in Children

Risk Factors for Sinus Infections in Children

Because 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 Children

Signs 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.)
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Sinusitis (Sinus Infection) Information

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