Acute Sinusitis – Sinus Infection or Common Cold


Perhaps your child might be getting a cold. He is coughing and sneezing… complains of being tired and achy. Later, when the medicines you’ve been giving him to relieve the symptoms of the common cold are not working… you finally bite the bullet and call your doctor. After checking his notes  reviewing the history of symptoms, and perhaps suggesting a sinus x-ray, the doctor decides your child has acute sinusitis.



Many people confuse simple nasal congestion with sinusitis. A cold however usually lasts about seven days and disappears without treatment. Acute sinusitis often lasts longer than a week. A doctor can diagnose sinusitis by medical history, physical exam, x-rays, and if necessary MRIs or CT scans.


If a child has both a cough and nasal discharge that does not improve within 10-14 days, this may be bacterial acute sinusitis. The nasal discharge may be clear or colored. The cough is present during the day, but is often worse during naps or at bedtime.


Asthma and sinus infections often go together. Boys get more sinus infections than girls. In addition, swimming, breathing cold dry air, or attending day care centers can predispose a child to sinusitis.


For children who are not at risk of having an infection caused by a resistant bacteria, for instance kids who are not in daycare or who have not been on antibiotics recently, they may be treated with a regular dose of amoxicillin, which can now be given just twice a day.


How long should your child be on antibiotics? Since most children show improvement in 3 days, this usually results in 10 days of antibiotics and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.


As a mother you may do the best possible home-care for your child’s illnesses, but when a simple cold turns into more than that, a doctor is your best bet. Acute sinusitis should have medical attention as soon as possible.


Esther Smith, author

Smith has researched all forms of sinus problems thoroughly, and is fairly comfortable in recognizing the limits of home care. For more information on sinusitis click here: