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Symptoms of a Sinus Infection in Children

Could This Be a Bacterial Sinus Infection?

Most sinus infections (in both children and adults) are caused by a virus. But bacteria can infect the sinuses as well.
Signs that bacteria may be responsible for the infection include:
  • Symptoms that have not improved within 10 days. In many cases, symptoms from an uncomplicated viral sinus infection may not have completely gone away within 10 days; but a bacterial sinus infection is more likely if the symptoms don't seem to be improving at all.
  • Severe symptoms. Bacteria tend to cause more severe sinus infections than viruses. Clues that a child may have a bacterial sinus infection include certain symptoms being present for three to four consecutive days, including:
    • High fever (at least 102ºF or 39ºC)
    • Thick, colored nasal discharge
    • Child appears ill.
  • Worsening symptoms or symptoms returning ("double sickening"). In this situation, a child will appear to be getting better, but on about day six or seven, symptoms get worse again. This can include worsening of the cough, nasal discharge, fever, or feeling sick again.

Possible Complications and Their Symptoms

Most sinus infections stay within the sinuses and nasal passage, but it is possible to have an infection spread beyond the sinuses. This can lead to complications.
Some of the possible complications of sinusitis in children include:
Symptoms may include:
  • Double vision
  • Decreases in vision
  • Eye pain
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Swelling around the eyelid
  • Redness around the eyelid
  • Swelling in the whites of the eyes
  • Severe headache
  • High fever (over 102.5ºF or 39.2ºC)
  • Severe facial pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Changes in mental state
  • Seizures.
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters

Sinusitis (Sinus Infection) Information

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