Causes of sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses around the nose and forehead.

Sinusitis can be caused by an infection or allergy. In children, it's most likely to be a viral infection, which can become a bacterial infection.

Children with a family history of allergy are more likely to develop sinusitis.

Sinusitis is more common in older children and adults than in babies and younger children.

The sinuses are the little spaces or hollows between the bones of your skull and face. They're all connected up, and they're also connected by small tubes to the passages inside your nose.

Sinusitis symptoms

If your child has sinusitis, she'll have thick, green mucus coming out of her nose. There might be nasal fluid running down the back of her throat. This is called 'post-nasal drip'. It might cause irritation and coughing.

Your child might feel pressure or congestion over the area of an infected sinus.

Pain and swelling are common symptoms too, especially under the eyes. Pain is usually worse on one side of the face.

Your child might also have a fever and bad breath.

Does your child need to see a doctor about sinusitis?

Yes. You should take your child to the GP if your child has:

  • symptoms of sinusitis
  • fever, or is generally unwell with no apparent cause
  • a cough
  • neck stiffness and a headache
  • eye swelling during or after a bad cold.

If your child has sinusitis for a long time, or keeps getting it, he needs to see the GP.

Tests for sinusitis

Most children don't usually need any tests to diagnose sinusitis.

If your child suffers from regular sinusitis, your GP might send her for an X-ray or a CT scan of her face to see whether the condition is chronic.

Sinusitis treatment

Antibiotics (usually penicillin) are the most common treatment for sinusitis.

Paracetamol in recommended doses can help ease any pain from the sinusitis.

Normal saline nasal drops or washes can help with congestion.

There's no evidence to show that decongestant sprays, corticosteroids or antihistamines help with sinusitis.