If your child has spent the past two weeks complaining of pain in their forehead and around their eyes, you may wonder whether they have a cold or something more serious. Your child may have a sinus infection, which can mimic some of the symptoms of a common cold. In addition, the common cold typically clears up in about 10 days, and a sinus infection tends to last longer. Here's more information about sinus infections and what you can do to help your loved one feel better.

What Should You Know About Sinus Infections?

Like adults and teens, your child has four different types of sinus cavities in their face and head. The cavities develop at different stages of your loved one's life and will complete their growth by the time your child reaches 20 years of age. Some of the sinuses lie near the eyes and in the forehead, while the rest hide in the nasal cavity and cheek bones. The hollow cavities usually contain air, but sometimes, they become inflamed and fill up with fluid.

Inflammation can develop in your child's nasal cavities from a previous cold or viral infection. Your child's sinuses can swell if they suffer from seasonal allergies. Being exposed to contaminants that irritate the nasal passages, such as cigarette smoke or barbecue fumes, may also trigger an inflammation. The swelling can prevent fluid from draining out of the sinus cavities. However, bacteria, fungi, and even viruses can invade the fluids and cause an infection.

Your child may exhibit symptoms that seem similar to those caused by the common cold, such as a cough and runny nose. However, the thick fluid, or mucus, produced by a sinus infection will smell bad and look yellow or green in color. Colds usually produce clear-looking fluid.

In addition, your child's complaint of head and eye pain are common signs of a sinus infection. The pain comes from pressure, which builds up inside the sinuses and skin. Your child might have problems concentrating at school or play. Traditional cold and body pain medications may alleviate the pain for a short while, or they may not work at all. Your loved one will generally develop a low-grade fever, and that normally doesn't happen with the common cold. 

One of the best ways to help your child get well is to seek the services of a pediatrician.

What Can You Do to Help Your Loved One?

A pediatrician may do a number of things to diagnose your loved one correctly, including examining their nasal cavities. If your child has a sinus infection, the passages will appear red and swollen. A pediatrician may also take small samples of the mucus inside your child's nose or nasal cavity and examine it in a laboratory. A doctor needs to know whether the infection is caused by bacteria or something else before they prescribe the right treatment.

If bacteria caused the infection, a pediatrician may prescribe your loved one antibiotics to fight it. The antibiotics will destroy the pathogens, and this allows the sinuses to heal. To reduce the risk of Reye's syndrome, a doctor will generally avoid giving or prescribing aspirin to any child under the age of 18. Instead, your loved one may need to rest and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. A doctor may also prescribe antihistamines or decongestants to help clear up the inflammation and relieve the infection. These types of medications open up the nasal and sinus passages, and this allows your child to breathe better and experience less pressure in their forehead and around their eyes.

Be sure to monitor your child's recovery carefully. If you notice that your child's pain and other symptoms become worse, contact a pediatrician for further assistance. Make an appointment with a healthcare provider such as Entira Family Clinics to get started healing your child today.