|Sinus Pain or Congestion|
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|Does this describe your child's symptoms?|
Color of Nasal Discharge
Return to School
|When to Call Your Doctor|
|Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If|
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
|Parent Care at Home If|
|HOME CARE ADVICE FOR SINUS CONGESTION|
- Reassurance: Sinus congestion is normally part of a cold. Usually home treatment can prevent a true sinus infection.
- Nasal Washes:
- Use warm water or saline nose drops followed by suction or nose blowing to wash dried mucus or pus out of the nose.
- Place 2-3 drops in each nostril. Repeat this until the nose is open.
- Do nasal washes at least 4 times per day or whenever your child can't breathe through the nose.
- To make saline nose drops - add Â½ teaspoon of table salt to 1 cup (8 oz.) of warm water.
- Humidifier: If the air in your home is dry, run a humidifier.
- Decongestant Nose Drops or Spray (no prescription needed):
- Use this only if the sinus still seems blocked up after nasal washes AND age 6 years or older. Use the long-acting type (e.g., Afrin).
- Dosage: 1 drop or spray on each side 2 times/day.
- Always clean out the nose before using.
- Use routinely for 3 days, thereafter only for symptoms.
- Don't use for more than 5 days (Reason: rebound congestion).
- Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen for pain relief. The application of a cold pack or ice in a wet washcloth over the sinus for 20 minutes may also help.
- Antihistamines: Give oral antihistamines only if the child also has nasal allergies.
- Expected Course:
- With treatment, the viral sinus congestion usually resolves in 7 to 14 days.
- The main complication occurs if bacteria multiply within the blocked sinus (bacterial sinusitis). This leads to a fever and increased pain. It needs antibiotics.
- Contagiousness: Sinus infections are not contagious. If the sinus pain or congestion is associated with a cold or other infection, your child can return to school after the fever is gone and your child feels well enough to participate in normal activities.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Sinus pain persists for over 1 day after starting treatment
- Sinus congestion persists for over 2 weeks
- Sinus pain present and fever occurs
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 1/19/2009
Last Revised: 6/24/2008
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Online
Copyright 1994-2009 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.