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Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)

Sinus infection (sinusitis) facts

  • Sinus infection, or sinusitis, is a common condition that refers to inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages.
  • Acute sinusitis usually lasts fewer than eight weeks or occurs no more than three times per year, with each episode lasting no longer than 10 days.
  • Chronic sinusitis lasts longer than eight weeks or occurs more than four times per year, with symptoms usually lasting more than 20 days.
  • Sinusitis can be caused by viruses, allergens, pollutants, bacteria, and fungi.
  • Symptoms of sinusitis include
  • To diagnose sinusitis a doctor will take a history and perform a physical exam. Tests may include CT scans and ultrasound.
  • Home remedies to help relieve symptoms of sinusitis include
    • drinking plenty of water,
    • inhaling steam,
    • taking a steamy shower,
    • using mentholated preparations such as Vicks Vapor Rub, and
    • nasal irrigation (such as using a Neti pot).
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) expectorants, decongestants, cough suppressants, and pain relievers can help alleviate symptoms.
  • Medications used to treat sinusitis include intranasal or oral steroids. Antibiotics may be prescribed to help prevent complications, relieve symptoms, and reduce the risk of chronic sinusitis.
  • Sinus surgery is a last resort for those who do not respond to medications.
  • Prevention of a sinus infection depends upon its cause, but the prognosis for sinus infections is usually good when treated promptly. Those with chronic sinusitis may have recurring bouts if there are structural or allergic causes.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/31/2016
Medical Editor:

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How to Get Rid of a Sinus Headache

Inflammation of the sinuses can lead to a sinus headache. Treatments for a sinus headache include:

  • Home remedies
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, decongestant medications, decongestant nasal sprays, inhaled steroids, and antihistamines
  • Prescription medications
  • Surgery

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Sinusitis, Acute »

Sinusitis is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the paranasal sinuses.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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