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Articles : A to Z Conditions (including Pertussis)
Natural Treatment for Sinus Infections: Back to Articles
by Lauren Feder, M.D.

Excerpt from Natural Baby and Childcare


Both children and adults can suffer from sinus infections, although symptoms in children are not as painfully obvious.  Sinuses are air-filled cavities in the bones of the face, located behind the cheeks (maxillary sinus), between the eyes (ethmoid sinus), and behind the forehead (frontal sinus). The sinuses connect with passages to the nose and are not fully developed until twenty years old. The small size of a young child’s sinuses coupled with her immature immune system can make a child susceptible to sinus infections.  Sinus infections are precipitated by a variety of triggers, such as the common cold, allergy, or exposure to smoke.  When infected, the sinuses fill with mucus or pus and can become blocked.


Symptoms of sinus infection in children involve a long-lasting cold (up to two weeks), low-grade fever, fatigue, fussiness, nasal congestion, cough, mouth breathing due to stuffed nose, drainage of yellow-green mucus, and post-nasal drip. Additional symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, sore throat, swelling or drainage of  the eyes, malaise, and bad breath.  A cough that worsens while lying down for a nap or at night is probably due to mucus drainage from the sinus and nose irritating the throat.  Older children and adolescents will also tend to experience the more familiar adult-like sinus symptoms of pain in the face and headache.

See your practitioner if your child has a persistent nasal discharge or cough for more than ten days.


Care and Treatment of Sinus Infections


Conventional Treatment

The common cold, which is caused by a virus, also causes inflammation of the sinuses.  When the symptoms of congestion and cough (worse at nap and at bedtime) last up to two weeks, the conventional doctor considers it a bacterial sinus infection and may prescribe antibiotics.  In addition, she may give your child decongestants, including nasal sprays and saline nasal rinses.

Chronic sinusitis includes prolonged symptoms that last for more than three months or recurrent bouts of acute sinusitis (4 to 6 a year).  Sometimes the ear, nose, and throat specialist may recommend surgery to correct chronic sinus blockage, which can include removing the adenoids in the back of the nose.

Home Treatments

Nasal rinses, known as nasal lavage or irrigation, have been shown to be helpful in clearing and thinning secretions for children with sinus infections, as well as any condition with congestion, such as the common cold and hay fever. The saltwater solution is sprayed into each nostril either by using a bulb syringe or a neti pot.  The neti pot, used in India for centuries, has a spout for the nose. The salt to water ratio is 1 level teaspoon sea salt to 2 cups (1/2 liter) of lukewarm filtered water. Use once or twice a day as needed. Steam inhalation with chamomile is also useful for treating sinus infections.

Homeopathic Remedies

Hepar sulph is useful for sinus conditions with extreme tenderness of the nostrils and thick nasal discharge that smells like old cheese.  The child is worse in the cold, and the nose stops up when in the cold. She feels better with warmth, moist heat, and in damp weather. There can also be a post-nasal drip.  The mood is irritable and sensitive.

Kali bichromicum is the most commonly used remedy for sinus infections. The child experiences pain and pressure at the root of the nose, which is alternately stuffed and runny. The mucus is thick and stringy, like glue, and sneezing is common in the morning.  Kali bichromicumn can also be used for a stuffed nose in infants  The child is worse in the cold, the damp, and in open air, but feels better with motion, heat, and pressure.

Mercurius (solubilis or vivus)  treats the sinus infections where the child’s nose looks red, raw, and dirty.  He may be sneezing frequently with a yellow-green, thick, pus-like discharge.  The child has bad breath with excessive drooling and can also be sweaty.  She feels worse in the extreme heat and cold temperatures.

Nux vomica treats symptoms of sinusitis where sneezing and runny nose are frequent by day.  During the night, the nose is stopped up, and it is not uncommon for a child to wake up with complaints around 3 to 4 a.m.  The keynotes of Nux vomica also include an angry and impatient child.

Pulsatilla is recommended for sinus infections with a bland, yellow-green discharge. The nose is stuffed and aggravated by lying down, and the child feels better in the open air.   She is worse in a warm, stuffy room and after eating rich foods. The mood is weepy and clingy.

Gemmotherapy Remedies

Briar Rose and European Hornbean are helpful in treating sinusitis.


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