Sinus Infection

This article examines the symptoms of a sinus infection, what they are caused by, the various treatment options for a sinus infection, and when to seek professional medical attention.


The proper name for a sinus infection is sinusitis. Sinusitis can be acute, lasting for about ten days to eight weeks.  It can also be chronic, meaning that it lasts for more than eight weeks.  It is characterized by swelling or inflammation of the tissues that line your sinuses. 

When the sinuses are healthy dust, germs, and other particles get trapped in the thin layer of mucus that lines the nasal cavities.  Then the tiny hairs in the sinuses move the mucus through the nasal passages and into the stomach.  When you have an infection the nasal passages become blocked and cannot function normally.  

Sinus Infection Symptoms

A cold and a sinus infection can sometimes be mistaken.   Where a cold will run its course a sinus infection often requires sinus infection antibiotics to get rid of bacteria. Symptoms of a sinus infection include: 

  • Pain or pressure in the face due to the blockage of nasal passageways
  • A stuffy nose or congestion of the nasal passageways 
  • Mucus running out of the nose that is yellowish in color
  • Inability to smell due to blockages 
  • Coughing or congestion of the chest
  • Fever 
  • Bad breath 
  • Bodily Fatigue  
  • Dental pain
  • Pressure in the ear 
  • Headaches  

What Causes a Sinus Infection? 

Most often a sinus infection is caused by a bacterial infection.  In some cases, viruses and molds may cause it.  Sinus infections caused in these ways are known as acute.  Acute infections last anywhere from ten days to eight weeks. Other causes of sinus infections are colds and seasonal allergies.   

 In the case of chronic sinus infection defects of the body are often a cause.  One defect is when the bony partition that is located between the two nasal passages is deformed.  Nasal polyps, which are benign nasal growths that contain mucus, can also be a cause.  When the sinus openings narrow, sinus infections can form as well.  Chronic infections may disappear and come back.  They often last for months on end and may need surgery to remedy. 

Sinus Infection Treatment 


Sinus infection antibiotics are used when there is a bacterial infection present. You must see a health care professional to get prescribed antibiotics.   It is only recommended to use antibiotics when symptoms persist for more than seven days.  Antibiotics work by attacking and killing the bacteria that cause the infection.  They will not do much to alleviate symptoms while they are taking effect. There are over the counter medications that can be used for sinus infection symptoms in the meantime. 

Sprays and Antihistamines

Nasal Decongestant sprays are helpful because they shrink the swollen nasal passages. This allows the sinuses to drain.  It is not recommended to use nasal sprays for more than three to four days as a dependency will be formed.  

Antihistamines decrease inflammation by stopping histamine from affecting the cells in your body.  This chemical is released when the body detects a threat such as an infection.

Topical Nasal Corticosteroids 

These are prescription nasal sprays that prevent and reverse inflammation.  They can also shrink and prevent the return of nasal polyps.  These differ from over the counter sprays in that they can be used for prolonged periods of time without forming a dependency. 


When drugs are not working, surgery can be a last resort to address physical deformities that cause nasal infections.  A surgeon can mend the bone in the nasal passages, remove nasal polyps and open up closed passages. 

Primary Care

When you have symptoms that won’t go away, trouble seeing, intense headaches, or neck stiffness you need to seek immediate primary care attention.  BASS Primary Care provides a broad range of medical services and are dedicated to high-quality care. 

At BASS Primary Care Walk-in Clinic, it's Your Health, Your Schedule.