A sinus infection, also called sinusitis, occurs when bacteria or viruses infect the sinuses. This can occur as a result of a cold that allows fluids to build up in the sinus passages. DrGreene.com points out that asthma and sinus infections often occur together. Treatment of an infant sinus infection varies depending on the cause. Most viral infections are left to run their course but some symptoms may be remedied with simple things like a humidifier or saline nasal spray. Symptoms of an infant sinus infection can appear like a cold that seems to hang on for an extended period of time.
It is common for an infant to have a cold for several days or even a week or more before developing a sinus infection. Nasal discharge is just one of the symptoms a cold and sinus infection share. Discharge of the nose may be clear during the cold but as the infection develops it can become thicker and may even take on a yellow or green color, says DrGreene.com.
A cough with nasal discharge that lasts more than 10 days may be a symptom of acute bacterial sinusitis, says DrGreene.com. An infant may cough more when lying down due to gravity making it difficult for any of the mucus to drain out of the sinuses. Elevating the infant’s mattress or running a humidifier while he is sleeping can help minimize these symptoms.
Other Oral Symptoms
Hoarseness, heard when an infant cries, may be an indication of a sore throat. If possible, a caregiver can identify a sore throat by redness. A sinus infection can also cause bad breath from the mucus draining improperly from the sinuses due to the infection and the increased thickness of the fluids.
Some viruses may cause an infant to have an elevated body temperature. The American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery points out that a low grade fever is common with pediatric sinusitis. This type of fever is usually safe unless it is persistent for more than 24 hours or methods to lower the body temperature are not effective. Caregivers should consult a pediatrician about emergency medical treatment for an infant with a high fever. Some pediatricians agree that a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in a baby under four months of age requires medical treatment, but this number varies for each doctor. When in doubt, seek medical treatment for an infant who has a fever.
An infant with a sinus infection may sleep more frequently but wake often due to coughing or other complications with the sinus infection. Crying or fussiness may be common with any type of illness. Many children have an ear infection with a sinus infection. This may mean an infant cries more when lying down due to increased ear pain.
An infant will not have a headache caused by sinus pressure as often as an older child or adult might, says the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Instead, the infant may have swelling around or beneath the eyes. This can also be characterized by a bluish hue or darkness under the eyes.
About this Author
Sarah Irene has written stacks of research articles dating back to 2000, has consulted in a number of settings, and is an able resource for a vast range of topics. She has been a psychology instructor since 2006 and has had her work published by ParentDish. She holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology.