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189192 tn?1261341628

How do you know when it is a sinus infection

My son is 3.5 month old and has had a cold/congestion with green mucus for 3 weeks now.  My husband took him to the dr today and the dr looked him over and sent him hom with nothing.  At what point do you decide it is a sinus infection and not just a cold? I'm not in love with the idea of antibiotics, but I hate seeing him suffer with constant congestion.  
12 Responses
Avatar universal
It sounds like it's more than a cold because it has gone on too long. Green mucus is a sign of infection, so I don't know why he wasn't given an antibiotic. Pediatricians just don't hand out the antibiotics like they use to (understandably so), but it sounds to me like Jacob needs one. Do you run the humidifier/vaporizer in his room? Steamy showers work well, too. Also, saline nose washes work well, but most mothers don't like doing that.
Avatar universal
i do the saline, if it doesnt improve after several days call them back.  did the dr say when it deserves an rx?  i never let dad take them i have way too many ?'s that i ask lol
189192 tn?1261341628
I've been doing the saline also but I'm not very good and getting a bunch out. I'm getting better tho. I think I wasn't putting the bulb up there far enough.  I do have a warm mist humidifier but haven't been running it every night. I probably should.  

He didn't give dh and instructions for when to bring him back. I called the nurse. I aksed her how much longer we were supposed to let it go on before we give him something for it.  She got a little snappy with me, but is supposed to call me back.
513629 tn?1218143953
If it has been going on for three weeks I'd be worried. It can turn to broncitis and then phnemonia. It you go to the ER they would have given him an xray to make sure it's not anything serious. He would have probably been given an antibiotic to make sure it is not a bacterial upper respritory infection. If he started to improve in 24-48 hrs that would've proved it was an infection. Most likely it is and the doctor is just hesitant about giving a liitle one Antibiotics. I'm surprised he didnt get at least prednisone (steriod) to help with the breathing and to loosen the mucus. Poor baby.  But I'm also the type of mom that if I even hear my kid cough I go straight to the doctor that day or the next day. The way I see things is if my child doesnt improve from a cold in a week, then it's time to check for something else. I hope you get some answers soon, that poor baby must be suffering with all that congestion. Keep us posted please. I wont be able to think about anything else until I know he's ok.      
171768 tn?1324230099
what are the symptoms other than green mucous? Green mucous does not always signal bacterial infection. A sinus infection would be accompanied by a fever. Also, is he fussy or seem like he's in pain? Has the congestion been getting progressively worse, better some days than others, etc...?
189192 tn?1261341628
It started off as a cold and he was pretty fussy but that was three weeks ago.  Since then he is in a pretty good mood but really congested. It gets a little better during the day and then real bad at night again.  When he is feeding, you can hear all the congestion in his nose even after I try to clean it out.  You can also hear it in the back of his throat. He does cough some but not uncontrollably.  By the time I left work they hadn't called me back. When I got home, I called my work messages and the dr called after I left. He said he would try me back tomorrow.  

I'm really not pro-antibiotic but everything I've read says that a cold should only last 7 to 10 days and green mucus that goes on for weeks is usually a sinus infection.  The nurse even told me that when I called after the first week. He is a really good baby and not too fussy but it is still hard seeing him live with all that congestion for this long. It feels like forever.  

Thanks everyone. I will let you know what I find out tomorrow.  
Avatar universal
I think 3 weeks is too long without treatment, and while it is true that we shouldn't request antibiotics at the drop of the hat, there are obviously times when they are necessary.

I also want to say that I wouldn't allow the nurse to be brusque with you.  I would definitely make the doctor aware of her behavior, and give her a chance, but it should not continue.  This is your child, I don't care if it's a hangnail or a splinter, you have every right to protect them.

Also, here's some info I dug up on sinuses in babies.  Good luck tomorrow!

Babies are born with sinuses, but they are just not very well developed. Newborns have very small maxillary (under your cheeks) and ethmoid sinuses (between your eyes), but they can't be seen on regular xrays until a child is 1-2 years old.

The frontal sinuses (which often contribute to typical adult sinus headaches) and sphenoid sinuses don't begin to develop until a child's second year and can't be seen on an xray until the child is 5-6 years old. The sinuses continue to grow until your child is a teenager.

How long had your child been sick?

If it had been for more than 10-14 days, then she may very well have a sinus infection. But whether or not she could have a sinus infection is controversial. Most likely, even if she has a green or yellow runny nose for several weeks, instead of a real sinus infection, it would be more appropriate to just call it purulent rhinitis. If it was lingering and getting worse, you would still treat her with antibiotics though.

If she has only been sick for 5-7 days, then she may just have a cold.


130384 tn?1221593027
They're REALLY stingy with meds now for the little ones.  You could try a Redi-Med place, the walk-in ones that are always open.  I refer to our RediMed doctor as the monkey with a prescription pad.  He does his little exam and then gives whatever we need.  I go there if I'm sure of the problem.

With DS, who is 3.5 y.o., he had a wicked sinus infection about 6 weeks ago.  He had a fever pushing 105 for about 4 days that I could only control with a dose of tylenol then a dose of motrin within a hour of each other.  It was scary.  When the infection finally showed itself there was lots of blood in the mucus that was coming out.  

If it were me, I would think your DS's green mucus meant an infection too, so I would see the monkey with the prescription pad.  :-)  My advise is to keep doing the saline drops and then sucking the snot out.  I found a nose sucker by "Little Noses" and I like it much better than the hospital ones.  I say wait it out if no fever, and take him in again if he gets a fever.

Hope this helps!
189192 tn?1261341628
Thanks everyone that was all very good and usefull info.  The dr called me today and said the reason he didn't jump to antibiotics was because he didn't have a persistent day cough but he was willing to work with me on it.  Fortunately when I woke Jacob up this morning his congestion was MUCH better.  But oddly enough he was up and down all night.  Lately he has been sleeping the whole night through.  He seemed a little warm, so I took him temp (arm pit) and it was 98.2. So just a little over normal. He seemed in really good spirits so I'm not gonna put too much importance on that. Maybe it was up just because he had just woken up.  Hopefully his congestion is really clearing up and it wasn't just for the night. Figures I make a stink about it and it gets better on its own... :)  

Thanks everyone!!  
Avatar universal
Haha.  Glad he's feeling better.  I always swore my kids only got sick after hours and on weekends.  At least our ped is always on call, but I always have to bug them at home!  And, just when you're worried to death, they have a way of getting better.

Just keep an eye on him, getting fluids, peeing and keep suctioning.  Behavior is often a better indicator of how sick they are, but as you know, a mother uses everything in their arsenal to keep baby safe.

Hope you both get a good night's sleep tonight.
180483 tn?1229529168
I'm just in shock your baby is 3 months old already!  Seems like yesterday you had him.  Hope he feels better soon.
513629 tn?1218143953
Keep us posted. We'd like to hear how your baby is doing.  

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