Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Symptoms of Sinusitis

Symptoms of sinus infection are very similar to those of the common cold. However when due to a cold virus, such symptoms typically improve in 1-2 weeks. If you continue to have nasal symptoms that linger after having a cold, then you may have developed a sinus infection.

Blockage of Sinuses

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Symptoms of sinus infection may include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Nasal discharge that may be thick, and greenish or yellowish in color
  • Headache (in acute sinusitis)
  • Ear pain
  • Toothache (dental pain)
  • Facial pain and pressure that increases when you lie down or lean over
  • Facial fullness or congestion
  • Nagging cough that may get worse when lying down
  • Fever
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Fever, especially in children

Most experts believe that sinus infection does not cause chronic headaches. However, alteration in sinus pressure associated with weather changes might provoke headaches in susceptible people.

REFERENCES:

Acute sinusitis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T902952/Acute-sinusitis-in-adults. Updated September 12, 2016. Accessed August 15, 2017.

Bhattacharyya N. Clinical and symptom criteria for the accurate diagnosis of chronic rhinosinusitis. Laryngoscope. 2006;116(7 pt 2 Suppl 110):1-22.

Chronic rhinosinusitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115673/Chronic-rhinosinusitis. Updated August 7, 2016. Accessed August 15, 2017.

Sinusitis. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/sinusitis. Accessed August 15, 2017.

Sinusitis overview. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/sinusitis.aspx. Accessed August 15, 2017.

Last reviewed August 2017 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP  Last Updated: 9/17/2014