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Symptoms of Sinusitis

Symptoms of sinus infection are similar to those of the common cold. However, cold symptoms typically improve in 1 to 2 weeks. Nasal symptoms that linger after a cold may be a sinus infection.

Blockage of Sinuses

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Symptoms of sinus infection may be:

  • Nose symptoms, such as:
    • Stuffiness
    • Discharge—may be thick, and greenish or yellowish in color
    • Decreased sense of smell
  • Headache (in acute sinusitis)
  • Ear pain, tooth pain, or pain in the face
  • Facial pain, pressure, or stuffiness
  • Nagging cough
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Bad breath and unpleasant taste in the mouth

Most experts believe that sinus infection does not cause long term headaches. However, some people get headaches from sinus pressure due to weather changes.


Acute rhinosinusitis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-rhinosinusitis-in-adults. Accessed November 15, 2021.

Chronic rhinosinusitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-rhinosinusitis. Accessed November 15, 2021.

Ebell MH, McKay B, et al. Accuracy of signs and symptoms for the diagnosis of acute rhinosinusitis and acute bacterial rhinosinusitis. Ann Fam Med. 2019;17(2):164-172.

Sinusitis. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/sinusitis/. Accessed November 15, 2021.

Sinusitis overview. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: https://www.aaaai.org/Conditions-Treatments/allergies/sinusitis. Accessed November 15, 2021.

Last reviewed November 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP  Last Updated: 11/16/2021