A runny nose is extremely common in young children. It is usually caused by coughs and colds, which your child can catch repeatedly, especially over the winter months. It is more common in children attending nursery/childcare. A cold typically lasts 7-10 days but when your child catches another infection before they have fully recovered for the first time it can seem like it is going on forever! Very few children with persistent runny noses require prescribed treatments such as antibiotics.
Symptoms that suggest specific treatment is required include:
- Persistent offensive discharge (bloody mucus) lasting longer than 10 days
- Completely blocked nose
- Pain and tenderness on one side of the face, around the eyes or forehead
During spring and summer these symptoms could indicate hay fever - see the relevant pathway here
This guidance has been reviewed and adapted by healthcare professionals across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw with consent from the Hampshire development groups.
Causes of rhinosinusitis
Most cases of rhinosinusitis in children are caused by an infection; your child may also have a sore throat, cough or earache. If you have concerns about cough and colds click here.
Most children with rhinosinusitis do not need treatment with antibiotics - they recover just as quickly without them and can avoid some of the side effects that antibiotics can cause.
If your child has any features of severe infection (amber or red features), they will need to be assessed urgently by a healthcare professional.
You can help relieve symptoms by:
- Giving your child paracetamol or ibuprofen to help relieve pain
- Holding a warm clean flannel over their face for a few minutes several times day
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids
It can take up to 2 weeks for a child to fully recover from rhinosinusitis.
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