DESCRIPTIONSinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses adjacent to the nose. Germs that cause sinusitis are contagious. Any one or all of the eight sinuses in the skull close to the nasal passages are involved. Appropriate health care includes: self-care; physician's monitoring of general condition and medications; surgery to drain blocked sinuses (rare).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSNasal congestion with green-yellow (sometimes blood-tinged) discharge.
Feeling of pressure inside the head.
Headache that is worse in the morning or when bending forward.
Cheek pain that may resemble a toothache.
Cough (sometimes) that is usually non-productive.
Disturbed sleep (sometimes).
Complete blockage of the sinus openings, blocking the discharge and increasing pain.
CAUSESInfection (usually initiated by a cold or other upper-respiratory infection). The infection may be complicated by a bacterial invasion of organisms that normally inhabit your child's nose and throat.
Irritation of the nasal passages from allergies, smoking, harsh sneezes with the mouth closed, chilling, swimming (especially jumping into the water without holding the nose) and fatigue.
RISK FACTORSIllness that has lowered resistance.
Exposure to cold, damp weather outdoors and dry heat indoors.
Exposure to others in public places.
Excessive nose-blowing during an upper-respiratory infection.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Keep the humidity level at 45% to 50% in heated buildings during the winter.
Encourage your child not to stifle sneezes.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
X-rays of the sinuses.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSMeningitis or brain abscess (rare).
Usually curable with intense treatment. Recurrence is common.
Use a cool-mist humidifier around your child to help thin secretions so they will drain more easily.
For an infant or young child who cannot blow the nose, use a nasal aspirator to suction each nostril gently before applying nose drops. Suction again 10 minutes after using nose drops.
Apply heat to relieve pain in the child's sinuses and nose. Use an electric heating pad or warm compresses.
Don't allow other persons to use your child's nose drops. They will be contaminated by the infection. Discard them after treatment.
Don't give your child nose drops after the prescribed time. They can interfere with normal nasal and sinus function and become addictive, causing a rebound phenomenon (See Glossary).
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe:
-- Nasal sprays, nose drops, or decongestant medicine to reduce congestion.
-- Antibiotics to fight infection.
For minor pain, use non-prescription drugs such as acetaminophen.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your child can resume normal activities gradually.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet, but the child should drink extra fluids to help thin secretions.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of sinusitis.
The following occurs during treatment:
-- Fever of 101F (38.3C) or higher.
-- Bleeding from the nose.
-- Severe headache.
-- Swelling of the face (forehead, eyes, side of the nose, or cheek).
-- Blurred vision.