Nasal Abscess in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

An abscess is a bacterial infection that forms a pocket of pus. Your child can get an abscess in his or her nose after an injury, such as a blow to the face. A nasal abscess also may develop if your child has had a sinus infection (sinusitis).

It may be hard for your child to breathe through the side of the nose with the abscess. Your child may have a fever and his or her nose may hurt. Your doctor will look at your child's nose and may do tests to find out what is causing the symptoms.

Your child will need antibiotics. The abscess may be drained through a needle or small cut. You and your child will need to follow up with the doctor to make sure the infection has gone away.

Your child may have had a sedative to help him or her relax. Your child may be unsteady after having sedation. It takes time (sometimes a few hours) for the medicine's effects to wear off. Common side effects of sedation include nausea, vomiting, and feeling sleepy or cranky.

The doctor has checked your child carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for a fever and pain. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not give your child two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions to care for your child's nose, especially if the abscess was drained through a needle or small tube.
  • Keep your child away from smoke. Do not smoke or let anyone else smoke around your child or in your house.
  • Prevent spreading an infection. Wash your hands and have your child wash his or her hands often. Teach your child to sneeze or cough into the crook of his or her arm, and make sure your child does not share toothbrushes, eating utensils, or drinking glasses.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has trouble breathing. Symptoms may include:
    • Using the belly muscles to breathe.
    • The chest sinking in or the nostrils flaring when your child struggles to breathe.
  • Your child is very sleepy and you have trouble waking him or her.
  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse nausea or vomiting.
  • Your child's fever gets worse.
  • Your child's nasal pain gets worse.
  • Your child has trouble breathing.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child's pain is not steadily decreasing.
  • Your child's symptoms return.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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