Sinusitis is an inflammation, or swelling, of the tissue lining the sinuses. Normally, sinuses are filled with air. But when they become blocked and filled with fluid, germs (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) can grow and cause an infection.
Conditions that can cause sinus blockage include the common cold, allergic rhinitis (swelling of the lining of the nose), nasal polyps (small growths in that lining), or a deviated septum (a shift in the nasal cavity).
Types of Sinusitis
Acute. Cold-like symptoms such as a runny, stuffy nose and facial pain that start suddenly and don't go away after 10 to 14 days. It usually lasts 4 weeks or less.
Subacute. Sinus inflammation lasting 4 to 8 weeks.
Chronic. Inflammation symptoms that last 8 weeks or longer.
Recurrent. Several attacks within a year.
Who Gets Sinusitis?
It's more likely if you have:
Swelling inside the nose like from a common cold
Blocked drainage ducts
Structural differences that narrow those ducts
Conditions that make an infection more likely, such as immune system deficiencies ormedications that suppress the immune system.
For children, things contribute to sinusitis include allergies, illnesses from other kids at day careor school, pacifiers, bottle drinking while lying on the back, and smoke in the environment.
Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis
The main ones include:
Facial pain or pressure
Loss of smell
Cough or congestion
You may also have:
It may be acute sinusitis if you have two or more symptoms or thick, green, or yellow nasal discharge.
Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis
You may have these symptoms for 8 weeks or more:
A feeling of congestion or fullness in your face
A nasal obstruction or blockage
Pus in the nasal cavity
Nasal discharge or discolored postnasal drainage
You may also have:
Your doctor will consider your symptoms and give you a physical examination. He may feel and press your sinuses for tenderness, and tap your teeth to see if you have an inflamed paranasal sinus.
You may also need other tests.
Will I Need to Make Lifestyle Changes?
It helps to drink more fluids and quit smoking.
Do I Need Sinus Surgery?
Maybe, if antibiotics and other medicines don't open the sinus. Also, if you have a structural problem in your sinuses, such as nasal polyps that block drainage, your doctor may talk to you about a procedure.