(Sinus Infection; Acute Sinusitis; Chronic Sinusitis)
by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinus cavities. It is usually associated with infection. The sinus cavities are air-filled spaces in the skull.
Acute sinusitis lasts for less than three weeks. Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when symptoms last for at least three months. You may have recurrent sinusitis if you have repeated bouts of acute sinusitis.
Infectious sinusitis is caused by bacterial or fungal infection of the sinus cavities. The most common organisms to cause acute sinusitis include:
Risk Factors TOP
These factors increase your chance of developing sinusitis. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
Symptoms of sinusitis may include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Sinusitis is diagnosed based on its symptoms and tenderness of the sinuses when pressed.
Tests may include:
You have acute sinusitis when the following occurs:
Surgery is a last resort for people with very troublesome, serious chronic sinusitis. It includes:
If you are diagnosed with sinusitis, follow your doctor's instructions.
If you have a tendency to get sinusitis following a cold or allergy attack, try these preventive measures:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Allergy Asthma Information Association
Calgary Allergy Network
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Sinus infection (sinusitis). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/sinusitis/Pages/index.aspx . Accessed June 22, 2008.
Sinusitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Accessed November 10, 2007.
Stewart AE, Vaughan WC. Balloon sinuplasty versus surgical management of chronic rhinosinusitis. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep . 2010;10(3):181-187.
1/10/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Williamson IG, Rumsby K, Benge S, et al. Antibiotics and topical nasal steroid for treatment of acute maxillary sinusitis: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA . 2007;298:2487-2496.
12/11/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Zalmanovici A, Yaphe J. Intranasal steroids for acute sinusitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2009;(4):CD005149.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2012