Sinusitis is also known as rhinosinusitis. You may get a sinus infection when your nasal cavities are swollen, inflamed, or infected for three months or longer. It is caused by a virus that persists after the treatment of upper respiratory symptoms. Fungus and bacteria may cause a sinus infection as well. Other conditions that may cause sinusitis include tooth infections, allergies, and nasal polyps.

Acute Vs. Chronic Sinusitis

Acute sinusitis is a type of sinusitis that only lasts four weeks or less. It may be part of a cold or different respiratory problem. On the other hand, chronic sinus infections last 12 weeks or more. Both types of sinusitis have similar symptoms, including congestion, facial pain, and infected nasal discharge. Consider seeing your doctor for a diagnosis.

What Causes Sinusitis?

Sinusitis may be caused by a virus, fungus, or bacteria that blocks and swells the sinuses. Specific causes of the problem include:

  • Polyps
  • Seasonal and nasal allergies
  • The common cold
  • A compromised immune system from medication or immune-related illnesses like HIV/ AIDS
  • A deviated septum. If your septum is not straight, it may be closer to your nasal passage than it should be hence causing a blockage.

Even though sinusitis is not contagious, viruses that can cause it is. Good hand-washing practices may reduce your likelihood of catching the virus. If you are sick, cough, and sneeze into your elbows and minimize interaction with others.

Who Can Get It?

An average of 35 million Americans get sinusitis at least once every year. However, you are more likely to have it if you have:

  • Nasal polyps
  • Blocked drainage ducts
  • A deviated septum
  • A common cold leading to swelling in your nose
  • Immune system deficiencies
  • A smoking problem
  • Asthma
  • Aspirin sensitivity
  • A dental infection
  • Allergic conditions

The children are at an increased risk of getting sinusitis if:

  • They use pacifiers.
  • There is smoke in their environment.
  • They have allergies.
  • Other kids at school or daycare have illnesses.
  • They are bottle-fed while lying on their back.

The Symptoms of Sinusitis

Nasal Congestion

Inflamed sinuses are likely to restrict your breathing. The infection causes swelling nasal passage and sinuses hence leading to nasal congestion. You may be unable to taste or smell, and your voice may be stuffy.

Pain In Sinuses

Because of the swelling and inflammation, sinusitis is likely to cause some pain and pressure. You may feel some discomfort on both sides of the nose, in your forehead, between your eyes, and in your teeth. If you have sinusitis, you may experience a persistent headache.

Hoarse Voice and Sore Throat

If you have an infection that lasts several weeks or longer, the mucus can irritate and inflame your throat hence resulting in a hoarse voice and sore throat. It often starts as an irritating tickle on your throat that gets worse over time.

Nasal Discharge

Nasal infections demand that you blow your nose often. You are likely to have a cloudy, yellow, or green discharge. It comes from the infected sinuses and is drained through the nasal passages. In some instances, the discharge may drain down your throat, causing a persistent itch or tickle. The postnasal drip may lead to persistent coughing, especially when lying down and early in the morning.

Cough and Throat Irrigation

When the discharge from your sinuses flows back to the throat, it causes irritation. If it goes on for some time, you may have a persistent cough. In most cases, the cough gets worse first thing in the morning and when trying to sleep. Consider sleeping upright to reduce the intensity of your coughing.


Sinus headaches are persistent, but they get worse in the morning. The swelling and pressure of your sinuses can also trigger dental pain, earaches, and jaw pain. If you have chronic sinusitis, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pus in your nasal cavity
  • A feeling of fullness around your face
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath

When Should You See a Doctor?

Consider seeking medical help if you have nasal discharge, congestion, fever, or facial pain that is recurrent and goes on for more than ten days. You may have underlying health conditions that trigger infections. If you are diagnosed with sinusitis, your doctor may prescribe the following options for treating sinusitis. If you leave sinusitis untreated, you are likely to develop more severe problems like meningitis, bone infections, and brain abscess.

1.    Decongestants and Nasal Sprays

If you have a simple sinus infection, a saline nasal wash or decongestant may be all you need. However, you should limit your use of over-the-counter decongestants to three days or less. Longer use can make your congestion worse. Always speak with your doctor before using nasal sprays. They may recommend steroid nasal sprays that can help your symptoms with minimal risk of rebound symptoms. Decongestants may not be appropriate for people with glaucoma, sleep problems, high blood pressure, or prostate issues.

2.    Over-the-Counter Medication

If nasal sprays and decongestants do not work, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. In most cases, they are used for 10 to 14 days. Amoxicillin is one of the most common antibiotics for treating sinusitis. You may need pain medication to alleviate symptoms such as headaches and tooth pain. Do not start taking any medicines for sinusitis before speaking with your doctor.

The side effects of antibiotics include diarrhea, rash, and stomach problems. Inappropriate or overuse of antibiotics can cause superbugs. They are hard to treat and often result in serious infections.

3.    Herbal Treatments

Herbal medications may be great for treating sinusitis. They work for both acute and chronic sinusitis. Cowslip, verbena, gentian root, sorrel, and elderflower are commonly mixed to make sinusitis medication. However, you should not attempt to mix them yourself. Using the wrong proportions can cause allergic reactions.

4.    Immunotherapy

If you have allergies that may be triggering your sinusitis, you may need allergy shots to control your body’s reaction to the allergens. Immunotherapy may improve the symptoms of sinusitis.

5.    Surgery

If your symptoms are resistant to medication and other treatment options, you may need endoscopic sinus surgery. When performing this procedure, your doctor will use a flexible tube with a light to look at the sinus passages. They may use various tools to remove a polyp or tissues that may be causing a nasal blockage. They may enlarge a narrow sinus to promote drainage.

Preparing for Sinus Surgery

If you need sinus surgery, you have to prepare for it. The surgery is common, and it can have lots of benefits. The following are a few preparation tips to keep in mind:

Speak With Your Doctor

Discussing the procedure with your doctor may put your mind at ease. Failure to understand the procedure is one of the most common causes of nerves. Your doctor should be able to tell you what to expect from when you walk in to the time you leave. They will explain what the procedure entails and why it is important.

Avoid Smoking

Stop smoking three weeks before the scheduled date of surgery. You also need to avoid smoking for a minimum of one month after surgery. If you have a smoking problem, get help as soon as possible.

Take Time Off

Consider taking some time off work as you will need some rest after the procedure. The amount of effort you need to put into preparation depends on the type of surgery you need. Most surgeries are done with the help of an endoscope through the Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery process. It is a non-invasive process, and you may be able to get back to your regular routine in two weeks. If you need a Caldwell-Luc operation, you need more effort and time in preparation. It is an invasive procedure, so you may need to take more time off work. Your doctor should let you know how much rest time you need.

1.    Consult Your General Practitioner

Get the opinion of your general practitioner before getting surgery. Your throat, ear, and nose doctor may give you the advice you need.

2.    Discuss Your Medication With Your Doctor

If you are under medication, let your surgeon know about it ahead of time. They may recommend that you stop taking ibuprofen, aspirin, and other NSAIDs. They are blood thinners and may increase your risk of over bleeding. You may also need to avoid certain herbal supplements.

3.    Pick Up Your Medication

You will need to take some drugs during the recovery process. You may need anti-inflammatory medicines and painkillers. Pick up your medication before surgery for convenience. Consider setting up a reminder to ensure that you do not forget to take them.

4.    Fast

Avoid eating or drinking after midnight on the day of your appointment. Your food and drinks may have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia used in surgery. If you are confused about when it may be okay to eat, your surgeon should guide you.

Following these preparation tips will put your mind at ease and improve your experience during surgery. It increases your likelihood of recovery after surgery.

Home Remedies for Sinus Pressure and Pain

When you have sinusitis, you may have a running or blocked nose. Your throat may be sore, and you may have a pounding headache. The symptoms are uncomfortable, and they can increase the quality of your life significantly. Fortunately, there are plenty of home remedies that can bring relief. Some of them include:

1.    Hydration

Consider increasing your intake of fluids to ease your symptoms. Water and other liquids will thin mucus and help drain your sinuses. Avoid caffeinated drinks as they can cause dehydration.

2.    Nasal Irrigation

Studies suggest that nasal irrigation may be useful for both acute and chronic sinusitis. It may also relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies. You can make your nasal solution using boiled tap water, a pre-mixed solution, or distilled water. Make your solution by mixing a cup of warm water, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, and ½ teaspoon table salt. Use a nasal sprayer to spray the solution in your nose. It clears your sinuses discharge and flushes allergens.

3.    Chicken Soup

Chicken soup may be good for sinus drainage. It is rich in antioxidants that ease congestion and reduces the inflammation from colds and sinus infections. The anti-inflammatory effect of the soup makes it one of the best home remedies for clearing sinuses.

4.     Cold and Warm Compresses

Consider switching between warm and cold compresses to ease your symptoms.

  • Lay back and drape a warm compress across your forehead, cheeks, and nose for about three minutes
  • Remove it and use a cold compress for about 30 seconds.
  • Repeat it about three to six times every day

5.    Steam

If you have a congested nose, steaming may be a good idea. It loosens mucus and leaves you feeling less congested. Pour hot water into a bowl and add eucalyptus oils, menthol, or camphor into the water. Place a towel over your head and ensure that it covers both ends of your bowl.

6.    Rest

Getting lots of rest may help your body fight off infections. It promotes quick recovery. When sleeping, use a couple of pillows to prop yourself up. Being in an elevated position helps you breathe better.

7.    Vitamin C

Increase your consumption of vitamin C to fight off the infection. It reduces inflammation and shortens your recovery period.

8.    Humidity

Consider placing a vaporizer or humidifier in your bedroom to reduce congestion. Dry air can irritate your mucus membrane, making the symptoms of your infection worse.

9.    Understand Your Triggers

Find out what triggers your sinus infection or cold and avoid it. If you have allergies, take an antihistamine before allergy season.

10.   Spices

Spicy foods may be good for you. They clear your nasal passages and help you breathe better. Some of the best spices for sinus infections include wasabi, hot peppers, and horseradish.

In conclusion, sinusitis is a common problem that affects an average of 35 million Americans. It may be caused by a fungus, virus, or bacteria that causes an infection. Even though it typically clears on its own within three weeks, treatment may promote quick recovery. There are plenty of home remedies that may help, as well.