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(Sinus Infection; Acute Sinusitis; Chronic Sinusitis; Rhinosinusitis)
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- Recent viral infection
- Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke
- Other sources of indoor or outdoor air pollution
- Allergies or asthma
- Abnormalities of the facial bones, sinuses, or nasal passages, such as:
- Certain chronic illnesses, including:
- HIV infection and other disorders of the immune system
- Head injury or a medical condition requiring a tube to be inserted into the nose
- Cocaine and other drugs inhaled through the nose
- Facial congestion or fullness
- Facial pain or pressure that increases when you bend over or press on the area
- Cough, which is often worse at night
- Nasal congestion not responding well to either decongestants or antihistamines
- Runny nose or postnasal drip
- Thick, yellow, or green mucus
- Bad breath
- Ear pain, pressure, or fullness
- Dental pain
- Initial improvement with sudden worsening of symptoms over the course of a few weeks
- Holding a flashlight up to the sinuses to see if they light up
- CT scan or x-ray of the sinuses to look for fluid in the sinus
- Endoscopic examination of the sinuses—threading a tiny, lighted tube into the nasal cavities to view the sinus opening
- Removing sinus fluid through a needle for testing (rare)
- History of 10 or more days of colored mucous, or visibly infected mucus
- Tenderness over the sinuses
- Difficulty smelling
- Drinking throughout the day
- Nasal and sinus washes
- Steam treatments—may include humidifier running in your bedroom or inhaling steam from bowl of hot water
Over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.
- Antihistamines—to manage related allergies
- Intranasal corticosteroids—may decreasing swelling in the lining of the nose in people with allergies
- Decongestants—to shrink nasal passages. Do not use nasal sprays for longer than 3-4 days in a row.
- Repair of a deviated septum
- Removal of nasal polyps
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery—enlarge the sinuses to improve drainage
- Balloon sinuplasty—to open the sinus passages
- Have allergy testing to find out what things you are allergic to and to learn how to treat your allergies.
- Avoid substances you know you are allergic to
- Stick with your allergy treatment plan
- If you get a cold, drink lots of fluids and use a decongestant.
- Use sinus washes as directed.
- Blow your nose gently, while pressing one nostril closed.
- If you must travel by air, use a nasal spray decongestant to decrease inflammation prior to takeoff and landing.
- Use a humidifier when you have a cold, allergic symptoms, or sinusitis.
- Use HEPA filters for your furnace and vacuum cleaner to remove allergens from the air.
- Avoid cigarette smoke.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD
- Review Date: 09/2017
- Update Date: 09/26/2017