Causes of sinusitis

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.

It’s also known as rhinosinusitis.

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

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

Your child might have thick, green mucus coming out of his nose, or there might be nasal fluid running down the back of his throat – this is called ‘post-nasal drip’. This might cause irritation and coughing.

Your child might also have a fever and bad breath.

When to see a doctor about sinusitis symptoms

You should take your child to the GP if:

  • you think your child has sinusitis
  • your child has a fever, or is generally unwell with no apparent cause
  • your child has a cough
  • your child has neck stiffness and a headache
  • your child’s sinusitis is prolonged or recurrent.

Tests for sinusitis

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

If your child suffers from regular sinusitis, your doctor 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 can help with congestion.

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