- Fullness, pressure or pain on the face over a sinus
- Sinus pain occurs above the eyebrow, behind the eye, and under the cheekbone
- Other common symptoms can be a blocked nose, nasal discharge, or postnasal drip
- Most often, the pain or pressure is just on one side of the face.
- Swelling around just one eye.
- Other common symptoms are a stuffy or blocked nose or nasal discharge. Your child may also have a nasal drip down the back of the throat. This is called a postnasal drip.
- Less common symptoms are bad breath or mouth breathing. Also, may have a sore throat and throat clearing from postnasal drip.
- Age Limit. Sinus pain is not a common symptom before 5 years of age.
Causes of Sinus Congestion
- Viral Sinus Infection. Part of the common cold. A cold infects the lining of the nose. It also involves the lining of all the sinuses.
- Bacterial Sinus Infection. A problem when the sinus becomes infected with bacteria. (Occurs in 5% of colds). It starts as a viral sinus infection. Main symptoms are increased sinus pain or return of fever. The skin around the eyelids or cheeks may become red or swollen. Thick nasal secretions that last over 14 days may point to a sinus infection. This can occur in younger children.
- Allergic Sinus Reaction. Sinus congestion often occurs with nasal allergies (such as from pollen). Sneezing, itchy nose and clear nasal discharge point to this cause.
Treatment of Sinus Congestion
- Viral Sinus Infection. Nasal washes with saline. Antibiotics are not helpful.
- Bacterial Sinus Infection. Antibiotics by mouth.
- Allergic Sinus Reaction. Treatment of the nasal allergy with allergy medicines also often helps the sinus symptoms.
- All Thick Nasal Drainage. Nasal secretions need treatment with nasal saline when they block the nose. Also, treat if they make breathing through the nose hard. If breathing is noisy, it may mean the dried mucus is farther back. Nasal saline rinses can remove it.
Color of Nasal Discharge with Colds
- The nasal discharge changes color during different stages of a cold. This is normal.
- It starts as a clear discharge and later becomes cloudy.
- Sometimes it becomes yellow or green colored for a few days. This is still normal.
- Colored discharge is common after sleep, with allergy medicines or with low humidity. Reason: all of these events decrease the amount of normal nasal secretions.
Bacterial Sinus Infections: When to Suspect
- Yellow or green nasal discharge is seen with both viral and bacterial sinus infections. Suspect a bacterial infection if the discharge becomes thick (like pus). But, it also needs one or more of these symptoms:
- Sinus Pain, not just normal sinus congestion. Pain occurs mainly behind the cheekbone or eye or
- Swelling or redness of the skin over any sinus or
- Fever lasts more than 3 days or
- Fever returns after it's been gone for over 24 hours or
- Nasal discharge and post-nasal drip lasts over 14 days without improvement