What is nasal abscess?

Nasal Abscess
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Nasal abscess in children: Overview

An abscess is a bacterial infection that forms a pocket of pus. Your child can get an abscess in the nose after an injury, such as a blow to the face.

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 their 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 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.

How can you care for your child's nasal abscess?

  • 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 their hands often. Teach your child to sneeze or cough into the crook of their arm, and make sure your child does not share toothbrushes, eating utensils, or drinking glasses.

Nasal abscess in children: When to call

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 hard to wake up.
  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.
  • Your child has new pain, or the pain gets worse.

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

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.