All kids get colds and the runny noses that come with them, but a stuffy nose also can lead to another problem. The mucus associated with a cold provides a fertile soil for infection to grow.

The result may be sinusitis, when bacteria infect the paranasal sinuses. The sinuses are usually air-filled cavities in the cheeks and around the nose. When infected, the sinuses fill with mucus and fluid.

The diagnosis of sinusitis is usually made based on the history of your child’s illness and certain physical findings.

In situations where there is uncertainty, or suspected complications, a CT scan of the sinuses can illustrate the extent and severity of the infection.


Most cases of sinusitis in children result from viral colds that linger longer than expected. A common length of symptoms which doctors often use to help with a diagnosis of sinusitis is 10 days or more of congestion and nasal discharge.

The cold will cause sinus congestion, which then leads to a bacterial infection. In addition to colds, anything that causes nasal congestion can contribute to sinus infections.

Allergies and nasal sensitivities to things such as cigarette smoke are common contributors. Common allergies include pollen, dander, dust and molds.

Lastly, prolonged or extensive sinus disease is sometimes associated with immune problems.


Symptoms of sinusitis include:

Be sure to tell your doctor if your child’s sinusitis symptoms are accompanied by pink eye. Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, produces a mucus-like discharge from the eyes. This combination can help your doctor with antibiotic choices.


Treatment for sinusitis may include:


Call your doctor if your child:

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