Sinusitis is an infection of the lining of the sinuses near the nose. These infections most often happen after a cold or after an allergy flare-up. There are 4 types:
The sinuses are air-filled pockets
(cavities) near the nose passage. The sinuses make mucus. This fluid cleans the bacteria
and other particles out of the air you breathe.
A sinus infection can happen after a cold. The cold inflames the nasal passages. This can block the opening of the sinuses and lead to infection. Allergies can also cause the nasal tissue to swell and make more mucus and cause sinusitis.
Other conditions that can lead to sinusitis include:
If mucus drainage is blocked, bacteria may start to grow. This leads to a sinus infection, or sinusitis. The most common viruses and bacteria that cause sinusitis also cause the flu or certain kinds of pneumonia.
The symptoms of sinusitis may
depend on your age. These are the most common symptoms:
Older children and adults
The symptoms of sinusitis may look
like other conditions or health problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for
Your healthcare provider can often
diagnose sinusitis based on your symptoms and a physical exam. Sometimes other tests are
done. These may include:
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It
will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment of sinusitis may
You may be referred to an allergist
or immunologist, especially for chronic or recurrent sinusitis. People who have had
sinus surgery, but still have sinusitis, may also be referred.
Decongestants and antihistamines do
not seem to help the symptoms of sinusitis.
Call if any of these occur:
These symptoms may point to a serious condition.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider: