Runny noses are commonplace among small children. In fact, sometimes, it seems to be the norm. But then, on occasion, things progress from there. The nasal discharge increases to the point where you feel like you are continually wiping the kid’s nose, even attempting to get the tyke to blow. The discharge can become cloudy, green or yellow.
This is not just a runny nose. The discharge is coming from infected sinuses draining into the child’s nasal passages. Possibly some of it bypasses the nose and drains down the back of the throat. The toddler might be able to describe it, but there might be a tickle or an itch in the throat. You will know it, though, because this post nasal drip causes the youngster to cough at night and into the morning after getting up. It can cause hoarseness and, eventually, a sore throat.
The pain might not be from a sore throat. We all have several different sinuses above and below our eyes as well as behind our nose. Any of these can experience inflammation and swelling. The child may feel pain in his or her forehead, on either side of the nose, in the upper jaws and teeth, or between the eyes, leading to a general headache.
Medically known as rhinosinusitis, a sinus infection occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed. Sinusitis, in and of itself, is not spread by contagion.
The Causes of Sinus Pain
The most common cause of rhinosinusitis, or simply sinusitis, is a virus. This virus often persists even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. Less often, bacteria, or rarely fungus, may cause a sinus infection. Other conditions such as allergies, nasal polyps or tooth infections can also bring on sinus pain and the related symptoms.
Sinus Pain Comes from What Kinds of Sinusitis?
Medical specialists agree that the primary criteria for sinusitis include facial pain, unusual and thick nasal discharge and congestion. Many sinus infection symptoms are common to both acute and chronic forms of sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis may last a short time, specifically less than four weeks, as defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Such an acute infection normally accompany a cold or other respiratory illness. Chronic sinus infections continue twelve or more weeks or recur multiple times.
Having a physician check you is the best method of knowing whether you have an infection, discover the cause and receive effective treatment.
Symptoms to Expect with Sinus Infection
What Happens with Nasal Congestion?
Clearly, inflamed sinuses will restrict air flow and therefore how well you can breathe through your nose due to the swelling in both the sinuses and the nasal passages. The congestion can also impede your ability to smell or taste as well as otherwise. Your voice might also sound “stuffy.”
Can a Sinus Infection Cause a Headache?
All that inflammation and swelling can result in ongoing pressure in the sinuses and cause symptoms of a headache. But sinusitis can also give you earaches, dental pain and pain in the jaws and cheeks.
After a good night’s sleep a sinus headaches more intense in the morning because of the build-up in fluids throughout the night. Changes in barometric pressure as the weather changes can also make the pain worse.
Does a Sinus Infection Produce Throat Irritation or a Cough?
The mucus discharge from your sinuses can as easily drain down the back of your throat as come out of the nose. Over time this can lead to a persistent, annoying cough because of the irritation in the throat. You will likely find it worse while lying down because the mucus doesn’t move on. You can imagine that when you get up after a night’s sleep or even a nap the coughing might increase, but coughing can also interrupt your sleep. If you sleep upright or with your head elevated you can reduce the frequency and intensity of coughing.
As the discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat, it can cause irritation, especially over a long period of time. This can lead to a persistent and annoying cough, which can be worse when lying down to sleep or first thing in the morning after getting up from bed. It can also make sleeping difficult. Sleeping upright or with your head elevated can help reduce the frequency and intensity of your coughing.
Does Sinus Infection Result in a Sore Throat or a Hoarse Voice?
If the post-nasal drip from the sinuses causes irritation in your throat, you can imagine that eventually the throat will become inflamed, giving you a raw and aching throat. The annoying tickle becomes worse with time. A long-lasting infection will produce enough mucus to irritate and then inflame your throat.
When to See Your Doctor
Should You Consult with a Doctor about a Sinus Infection?
Normally your own body’s immune system will take care of the infection with time. However, you make an appointment to see a physician if you have a nasal discharge or congestion, or facial pain that lasts longer than ten days, or if it recurs, especially if your symptoms include a fever.
A fever is not a common symptom of either chronic or acute sinusitis, but it is possible. If an underlying condition is causing your chronic infections, you may need special treatment. A lingering sinus infections can sometimes progress to complications that may develop to meningitis, brain abcess, osteomyelitis or orbital cellulitis.
How Can I Determine that My Child Has a Sinus Infection?
Sinus infections usually begin with the symptoms of a cold (for example, a runny nose, occasional cough and/or mild fever), and then develop into pain and pressure in the sinus cavities. About 7 to 10 days after initial cold-like symptoms, other symptoms can develop that suggest you may have a sinus infection. Most patients have several signs and symptoms at the same time. Others may have some symptoms that are intermittent; most do not have all symptoms at once. The signs and symptoms of a sinus infection or sinusitis include the following:
- Headache due to pressure in partially or completely blocked sinuses. The pain may increase when the person bends down.
- Facial tenderness, possibly with swelling when facial areas over sinus areas are touched.
- Pressure or pain due to mucus pressing on sinus tissue or inflammation of sinuses.
- Fever due to inflammation of sinus tissues and infection.
- A cloudy, discolored nasal drainage is often seen in bacterial sinus infections.
- Congestion. a feeling of nasal stuffiness that occurs with both infectious and non-infectious sinusitis.
- Post-nasal drip comes as mucus overproduction from sinusitis flows to the throat and irritates throat tissue.
- Sore throat produced by inflammation of throat tissue by post nasal drip.
- Coughing is a response to post nasal drip and body’s attempt to clear out throat tissue irritants.
- Tooth pain, eye pain and ear pain can be caused by pressure on surrounding nerves and tissues
- Fatigue comes as a result of fever and the body’s immune response
- A bacterial infections can produce bad breath
- Nasal drainage usually is clear or whitish-colored in people with non-infectious sinusitis.
- Multiple chronic symptoms usually are a sign of sub-acute or chronic sinusitis
If a person is prone to recurrent bouts of “yearly sinus infection” it may be important to consider allergy testing to see if this is the underlying cause of the recurring problem. Treatment of the allergy may prevent secondary bacterial sinus infections. In addition, sinus infections may be due to other problems such as nasal polyps, tumors or diseases that obstruct normal mucus flow. Treatment of these underlying causes may prevent recurrent sinus infections.