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Sinus Infection

Admission Information and Discharge Instructions

What is a sinus infection?

A sinus infection is a bacterial infection of one of the sinuses that normally drain into the nose. If bacteria multiply within a sinus, pain and pressure occur above the eyebrow, behind the eye, or over the cheekbone. Other symptoms can include a lot of yellow nasal discharge, postnasal drip, a blocked nose, fever, and bad breath. A sinus infection may cause a chronic cough. Swallowing sinus secretions is normal and harmless but may lead to some nausea. Most sinus infections can be diagnosed without sinus x-rays.

Why was my child admitted to the hospital?

Main complication ________________________________________.

__ Needs IV antibiotic.

__ Needs IV fluids.

__ Other reasons _________________________________________.

What are the requirements for discharge?

  • _______________________________________________________
  • _______________________________________________________
  • _______________________________________________________

How can I take care of my child?

  • Antibiotics

    Your child's antibiotic is ____________________________. Your child's dose is____________, given ______ times a day by mouth during waking hours for ______ days. This medicine will kill bacteria that are causing the sinus infection.

    Try not to forget any of the doses. If your child goes to school or to a baby sitter, arrange for someone to give the afternoon dose. If the medicine is a liquid, use a measuring spoon to make sure that you give the right amount. Even though your child will feel better in a few days, give the antibiotic until the bottle is empty to prevent the infection from flaring up again. Do not save the antibiotic for the next illness because it loses its strength.

  • Nasal washes

    Use warm water or saline nosedrops followed by suction or nose blowing to wash dried mucus or pus out of the nose. Do nasal washes at least four times a day or whenever your child can't breathe through the nose. If the air in your home is dry, run a humidifier.

  • Decongestant nosedrops or spray

    To open and drain the sinuses, you may need a generic, long-acting decongestant nosedrop or spray (such as oxymetazoline). You don't need a prescription for these.

    The usual dose for adolescents is two drops or sprays per nostril twice a day. For younger children use one drop or spray a day.

    Use the medicine routinely for the first 2 or 3 days of treatment. After that, don't use the spray or nosedrops unless the sinus congestion or pain recurs.

  • Pain-relief medicines

    Your child can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for a few days for sinus pain or any fever over 102F (39C).

  • Oral antihistamines

    If your child also has hay fever, he or she should take allergy medicine (antihistamine). Otherwise avoid using antihistamines because they can slow down the movement of secretions out of the sinuses.

  • Contagiousness

    Sinus infections are not contagious. Your child can return to school or day care when he or she is feeling better and the fever is gone.

  • Other medicines

    For pain or fever over 102F (39C) give _________________________



  • Additional instructions



When does my child need to be seen again?

___ Your child needs to be rechecked and has an appointment on _____________ at _______ with _________________________.

___ Your child needs to be rechecked in ________ days. Call your child's doctor to make an appointment.

___ A follow-up appointment is not necessary. Call your doctor if you have any concerns.

When should I call my child's health care provider?


  • Redness or swelling occurs on the cheek, eyelid, or forehead.
  • The fever returns.
  • Your child starts acting very sick.

Call during office hours if:

  • You have other questions or concerns.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D. and Robert Brayden, M.D.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-11-02
Last reviewed: 2006-02-06
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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