Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)


You feel pain and pressure in your head and face, your nose is runny, and you have a cough. It could be a cold, but if it bothers you for more than ten days, it’s likely sinusitis.

Sinusitis, or rhinosinusitis, occurs when the sinus tissue in the cavities around your nasal passages become inflamed, which is caused by an infection. Sinusitis may be triggered by a virus, a cold or allergies, and it may go away on its own without any treatment. If your symptoms continue beyond 10 to 14 days, you may have chronic sinusitis, which can last up to eight weeks and require antibiotics.

Symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Pain and tenderness in your face
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Yellow or green drainage from your nose
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Reduced sense of taste or smell

Diagnosis & Treatment of Sinusitis

Your Mercy doctor will be able to tell if you have sinusitis by asking questions about your health history and performing a physical exam. It’s unlikely you would need additional tests.

If your sinusitis is caused by a virus, it may not require any treatment. There are home remedies that may help reduce your symptoms, like:

  • Saline nose drops and sprays
  • Over-the-counter medicine to relieve pressure in your head and face
  • Breathing warm air in a hot shower
  • Putting a hot towel on your face for a few minutes at a time throughout the day
  • Drinking fluids

If you’re suffering from chronic sinusitis due to bacteria in your mucus, your doctor may prescribe a long course of antibiotics or even steroids to help reduce inflammation. You’ll probably feel better in a few days, but it may take several weeks before all of your symptoms are gone.

If antibiotics and other medicines aren’t successful in treating your chronic sinusitis, your doctor may recommend sinus surgery to open your sinus passages and prevent future infections. Before surgery, your doctor will likely order a CT scan to get a clear picture of your sinus cavities. Most sinus surgeries are minimally invasive and can be done in an outpatient setting.

Talk to your Mercy doctor about what treatment option works best for you, so you can breathe deeply, smell clearly and taste fully – free of sinusitis.

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