Sinus infection causes, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis

Sinuses are hollow cavities that may be found behind the nose, the eyes, the cheeks, and the forehead. Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages.

The nasal structure, a sinus infection, or both may contribute to inflammation. Sometimes, people may use the phrases "sinusitis" and "sinus infection" interchangeably.

An infected sinus is a frequent medical problem. Over 31 million Americans suffer from sinus infections each year, according to data from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Symptoms of Sinusitis

Sinusitis presents signs and symptoms similar to those of the common cold. The following are examples of such things that may happen −

  • Diminished ability to smell

  • Fever

  • Nasal congestion or discharge

  • Discomfort in the sinuses as the source of a headache

  • Fatigue

  • Cough

A child's sinusitis may be hard to see by caretakers. Among the warning signs are the following −

  • Illnesses caused by the common cold that don't clear up after almost 2 weeks

  • Difficulty finding relief from allergy medicine

  • A persistent cough

  • A temperature over 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius), which is termed a high fever

  • Nasal discharge that is either green or yellow and thick

Causes of Sinus Infections

It's common for sinusitis to develop when mucus or other debris plugs into the nasal passages.

Sinusitis and other sinus infections may affect anybody at any time. Nevertheless, the odds may be raised by having a preexisting ailment or other risk factors.

Sinusitis may have several causes, some of which are −

  • Problems with the nose's framework, such as a

    • A deviated septum (an imperfection in the tissue partition between the left and right nostrils).

    • Growth on the nasal bone or spur

    • Nose polyps, often a benign condition

  • Immune deficiency

  • Allergens in the past

  • Viruses, bacteria, and fungi may all cause upper respiratory tract infections like the common cold.

  • The underlying cause of cystic fibrosis is the accumulation of thick mucus in the lungs and other mucous membrane linings.

  • Inhalation of Mold

  • Cigarette use

  • Infection of the teeth

  • Airplane rides, which may put you in contact with a lot of bacteria,

A cold, allergies, or germs might bring a surplus of mucus. A sinus infection may develop if the mucus in your sinuses thickens and attracts bacteria and other organisms.

Types of Sinusitis

Sinusitis comes in various forms, but the symptoms are often the same. Both the intensity and duration of the symptoms are unknown at this time.

Sinus Infection that is Severe and new

The duration of acute sinusitis is the shortest.

That might persist for as long as four weeks. The common cold is a contagious respiratory illness that lasts up to ten days.

Viruses bring most acute sinusitis occurrences, although seasonal allergens may also play a role.

Sinusitis That is not Quite Severe

Sub acute sinusitis symptoms can linger for up to a year. Seasonal allergies and bacterial infections are significant triggers for this syndrome.

The Continuation of Acute Sinusitis Attacks

At least four attacks of acute sinusitis within a year constitute recurrent acute sinusitis. Acute sinusitis must continue for at least seven days for each episode.

Identification of Sinusitis

Before diagnosing, a doctor will interview you about your symptoms and do a physical exam. They could push a finger across your head and cheeks to feel for sore spots. Your doctor may also check the inside of your nose for redness or swelling.

Your doctor will likely diagnose sinusitis based on your symptoms and the findings of a physical examination.

Chronic sinusitis often necessitates thoroughly examining the sinuses and nasal passages, which may require imaging techniques. These examinations may detect the presence of polyps or other abnormal formations in the mucus membranes.

  • Medical scans. It is possible to make a diagnosis using several imaging studies.

    • You can get a quick look at your sinuses using an X-ray.

    • A CT scan may provide a three-dimensional image of your sinuses.

    • An MRI uses strong magnets to provide pictures of the body's underlying components.

  • Endoscopy of the nose − Another option is a fiberscope, a lighted tube that the doctor inserts into your nose to examine your nasal passages and sinuses. The doctor may take a sample during the process to do culture testing. Viruses, bacteria, and molds may all be identified by culture testing.

  • Skin testing for allergies − Allergy tests may pinpoint specific environmental triggers for an immune response.

  • Tests of the blood − Immune-compromising diseases like HIV may be detected with a simple blood test.

Treatment for your Sinusitis

Most occurrences of sinusitis are caused by viral infections and may resolve without therapy. You may get some relief from your problems with OTC drugs or home treatments.

Congestion in the nose

Sinusitis often manifests with a stuffy nose. If you're experiencing nasal congestion, try the following −

  • Using a warm, wet towel on your face and forehead several times a day might help alleviate the discomfort of sinus congestion.

  • You may remove the thick, sticky mucus in your nose by rinsing it with a saline solution.

  • Keep yourself hydrated and help thin the mucus by drinking water and juice. Mucus-thinning over-the-counter drugs like guaifenesin may be helpful.

  • Add some moisture to the air in your bedroom by running a humidifier. Start the shower and shut the door to immerse yourself in steam.

  • Try a spray for your nose that contains corticosteroid medication. While over-the-counter decongestants exist, getting a doctor's opinion before using one is best.

Meds for Discomfort or Pain

Sinusitis might cause you to feel pressure in your forehead and cheeks. Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may assist.


A bacterial infection is probable if your symptoms have not improved after a few weeks. Antibiotic treatment may be required if the following symptoms persist −

  • A stuffy nose

  • Congestion

  • Cough

  • Persistent discomfort in the face or head

  • Puffy eyes

  • Fever

Preventing Sinusitis

Following a healthy lifestyle and minimizing exposure to germs and allergens may aid in preventing sinusitis, which can occur after a cold, the flu, or an allergic response.

You may lessen the odds by −

  • Do something about the flu every year and get a vaccination.

  • Fruits and vegetables are examples of healthful foods you should eat.

  • Always be sure to wash your hands.

  • Keep your distance from potential irritants and allergens such as cigarette smoke, chemical fumes, and pollen.

  • Whether you suffer from allergies or the common cold, antihistamines are the way to go.

  • Stay away from those who are currently sick with respiratory illness.