Sinuses are the hollow spaces in the bones around the nose that connect to the nasal passages through narrow channels. A sinus infection or sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become blocked. The sinuses can then fill up with fluid and become infected with bacteria or viruses.Sinuses can become
blocked as a result of
the common cold,
nasal polyps or a
There are two types of sinus infections. Acute sinus infection symptoms last up to four weeks and are usually caused by a virus or bacteria. Chronic sinus infection symptoms last 12 weeks or longer and are usually caused by prolonged inflammation.
Sinus infections affect all age groups. In children, factors that contribute most to sinus infections are allergies, daycare or school environments, and second hand smoke exposure. For adults, factors that contribute most to sinus infections are allergies and smoking.
Symptoms include facial pain or pressure, nasal stuffiness, nasal discharge, loss of smell, cough, congestion, fever, bad breath, fatigue and dental pain. Your doctor or ENT physician can diagnose your sinus infection, causes, triggers and prescribe a treatment.
Depending on your type of sinus infection and its cause, there are different treatments that might be effective for you. Treatments include decongestants, antibiotics, inhaling steam, saline nasal drops or procedures such as a balloon sinuplasty.
If you have symptoms of sinus infection, discuss them with your doctor. An untreated sinus infection typically leads to unnecessary pain and discomfort. Recurrent sinus infections might be a sign of another condition such as a deviated septum. In rare cases, an untreated sinus infection can lead to meningitis or brain abscess.