How Long Does a Sinus Head Cold Last?

Reviewed on 4/27/2022

Woman sick with a sinus head cold holding right side of head and her nose with other hand
Acute sinusitis symptoms last less than eight weeks, or it happens no more than three times per year, with each occurrence lasting 10 days or less. Chronic sinusitis lasts longer than eight weeks, or it happens more than four times yearly, with symptoms lasting more than 20 days.

A sinus head cold (also called a sinus infection or sinusitis) is an inflammation of the sinuses and nasal cavity. 

There are two types of sinus infections:

  • Acute sinusitis
    • Has a sudden onset 
    • Lasts less than eight weeks, or 
    • Happens no more than three times per year, with each occurrence lasting 10 days or less
  • Chronic sinusitis
    • The most common type
    • Lasts longer than eight weeks, or
    • Happens more than four times yearly, and symptoms last more than 20 days

What Are Symptoms of a Sinus Head Cold?

Symptoms of a sinus head colds (sinus infections or sinusitis) vary, and depend on the cause, whether the sinus head cold is acute or chronic, and what parts of the sinuses are affected. 

Symptoms of acute sinusitis include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Postnasal drip 
  • Sore throat
  • Pain or pressure feeling
    • Around or under the eye(s)
    • Headache in the temple or behind the eye
    • Across the cheekbone
    • Around the upper teeth
    • On one or both sides of the face
  • Earache, or feeling of fullness in the ears
  • Fever 
  • Dizziness
  • Facial swelling
  • Sneezing
  • Throat itching
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Loss of sense of smell

Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may include those of acute sinusitis, but the symptoms last longer and/or are more severe. Additional symptoms of chronic sinusitis may include:

  • Pain/pressure that worsens 
    • In the late morning 
    • When wearing eyeglasses
    • When leaning forward
  • Increased facial discomfort throughout the day 
  • Chronic toothache or increased tooth sensitivity
  • Chronic sore throat 
  • Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
  • Increased cough at night

Is Sinusitis Contagious?

Causes of sinus head colds (sinus infections or sinusitis) include:

  • Viruses (most common cause)
  • Bacteria
  • Allergens or pollutants
  • Fungal infection

What Is the Treatment for a Sinus Head Cold?

Sinus head colds (sinus infections or sinusitis) are most often caused by viruses, so most of the time home remedies can be used to relieve symptoms, such as: 

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers 
  • Decongestants or saline nasal sprays
    • Talk to your child’s pediatrician before giving pain medicines, decongestants, or any cough and cold medicines to children
  • Rinse the nose and sinuses with salt water several times a day 
  • Use warm compress over the nose and forehead to help relieve sinus pressure
  • Breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or shower

If symptoms are not relieved with home remedies, a steroid nasal spray may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce the swelling in the nose. 

If symptoms of a sinus head cold do not improve after 10 days, or you have symptoms such as a fever and severe pain, antibiotics may be needed. 

SLIDESHOW

How to Get Rid of a Cold: Natural Remedies See Slideshow

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Reviewed on 4/27/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/acute-sinusitis-and-rhinosinusitis-in-adults-clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis?search=sinus%20infection%20symptoms&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H99987

https://acaai.org/allergies/types/sinus-infection

https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/community/for-patients/common-illnesses/sinus-infection.html

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/sinusitis-in-adults-the-basics?search=sinusitis%20treatment&source=search_result&selectedTitle=3~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=3

https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/sinus-infection.html