A sinus infection, also called sinusitis, is inflammation and swelling of the tissues that line the sinuses. This interferes with normal mucus drainage, leading to breathing difficulties, pain and pressure. When the condition persists for 12 weeks or longer, it is considered chronic.
Sinusitis is the number one reported chronic condition in the United States, affecting an estimated 37 million Americans. It’s most often caused by an infection brought on by a cold or allergies, but may also be the result of nasal polyps, a deviated septum, trauma to the face, hay fever, complications from immune system disorders or tumors.
Individuals suffering from sinusitis experience a variety of cold-like symptoms such as nasal congestion and discharge, postnasal drip, sore throat, facial pressure and swelling, loss of smell and taste, headache, fever, fatigue and bad breath. Complications can include asthma attacks, meningitis, vision problems, aneurysms and stroke.
In addition to a physical examination and a review of your medical history, your doctor will inspect your nasal passages for polyps, abnormalities, inflammation and buildup of fluid. Additional tests utilizing nasal endoscopy, CT scans, MRIs and allergy tests can be used to help confirm the diagnosis.
Treatments will vary depending upon the severity of your sinus infection and whether it’s an acute or chronic condition.