Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Sinus Infection Signs & Symptoms

Sinus infection is characterized by an infection of the lining tissues of the sinuses within the skull. Symptoms of a sinus infection can include

  • pain or pressure sensations over the involved areas of the face along with tenderness and swelling,
  • stuffy nose, or nasal congestion,
  • drainage or discharge from the nose,
  • cough,
  • earache,
  • pain in the jaw or teeth,
  • and nausea.

Quick GuideSinus Infection (Sinusitis) Symptoms and Treatment Options

Sinus Infection (Sinusitis) Symptoms and Treatment Options

Sinus infection or sinusitis facts

  • Sinusitis or sinus infection is inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose.
  • Sinusitis can be caused by infection, allergies, and chemical or particulate irritation of the sinuses.
  • Most people do not spread sinus infections to other people.
  • Sinusitis may be classified as acute sinus infection, subacute sinus infection, chronic sinus infection, infected sinusitis, and noninfectious sinusitis.
  • Sinusitis signs and symptoms include
    • sinus headache,
    • facial tenderness,
    • pressure or pain in the sinuses, in the ears and teeth,
    • fever,
    • cloudy discolored nasal or postnasal drainage,
    • feeling of nasal stuffiness,
    • sore throat,
    • cough, and
    • occasionally facial swelling.
  • Symptoms of a bacterial sinus infection include
    • facial pain,
    • pus-like nasal discharge, and
    • symptoms that persist for longer than a week and that are not responding to over-the-counter (OTC) nasal medications.
  • Sinus infection is generally diagnosed based on the patient history and physical examination.
  • Bacterial sinusitis is usually treated with antibiotics. Early treatment of allergic sinusitis may prevent secondary bacterial sinus infections.
  • Home remedies for sinusitis and sinus infections include over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), decongestants, and mucolytics. Nasal irrigation can be accomplished with a Neti-pot or rinse kit (nasal bidet).
  • Rare fungal infections of the sinuses (for example, zygomycosis) are medical emergencies.
  • Complications of a sinus infection that may develop are meningitis, brain abscess, osteomyelitis, and orbital cellulitis.
  • There are no fungal vaccines available to prevent fungal sinus infections.
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Reviewed on 5/18/2016
References
REFERENCES:

US Federal Drug Administration. "Is Rinsing Your Sinuses Safe?"
<http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm316375.htm>

Brook, I. MD. "Acute Sinusitis." Medscape. Jul 29, 2015.
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/232670-overview>

Brook, I. MD. "Chronic Sinusitis." Medscape. July 19, 2015.
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/232791-overview>

NeilMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. NeilMed Sinusrinse Video.
<http://www.neilmed.com/usa/video.php>

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