Sinuses are moist air spaces within the bones of the face around the
nose. When sinuses swell or become irritated, the infection is called
sinusitis. These infections usually follow colds or bouts with allergies.
Cases of sinusitis are common and can be easily treated.
The sinuses are four sets of hollow spaces that are located in the
cheekbones (maxillary sinus), the forehead (frontal sinus), behind the
nasal passages (ethmoid sinus), and deep in the brain behind the nasal
passages (sphenoid sinus). Sinuses are lined with the same mucous
membranes that line the nose and mouth.
When someone has a cold or allergies and the nasal passages become
swollen and make more mucus, so do the sinus tissues. The drainage
system for the sinuses can get blocked, and mucus can become trapped in
the sinuses. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can grow there and lead to
Sinusitis can cause different symptoms for kids of varying ages.
Younger kids often have cold-like symptoms, including a stuffy or runny nose and slight fever.
If your child develops a fever 5-7 days after cold symptoms begin, it
could signal sinusitis or another infection (like bronchitis, pneumonia, or an ear infection), so call your doctor.
Many parents mistake cold-related headaches in young kids for sinus
infections. But the sinuses in the forehead don't start developing until
kids are 6 or 7 years old and aren't formed enough to get infected
until the early teen years, so headaches in kids who have colds usually
aren't sinus infections.
In older kids and teens, the most frequent symptoms of sinusitis are a
daytime dry cough that doesn't improve after the first 7 days of cold
symptoms, fever, worsening congestion, dental pain, ear pain, or
tenderness in the face. Sometimes teens who have sinusitis also develop
upset stomachs, nausea, headaches, and pain behind the eyes.