Acute sinusitis (acute rhinosinusitis) triggers the cavities around your nasal passages (sinuses) to be inflamed and swollen. This interrupts the drainage and causes mucus to accumulate.
With acute sinusitis, it might be challenging to breathe through your nose. The part surrounding your eyes and face might be swollen, and you might have throbbing facial pain or a headache.
Acute sinusitis is often caused by the common cold. Unless a bacterial infection occurs, most cases resolve within a week to 10 days.
In most cases, home remedies are the best treatment for acute sinusitis. However, persistent sinusitis can result to serious infections and other complications. Sinusitis that lasts more than 12 weeks despite medical treatment is known as chronic sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis symptoms may include:
Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat (postnasal drainage)
Nasal obstruction or congestion, resulting to difficulty breathing through your nose
Pain, tenderness, swelling and pressure around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead that worsens when bending over
Other signs and symptoms may include:
Reduced sense of smell and taste
Aching in your upper jaw and teeth
Cough, which might be worse at night
When to see a doctor
Most people with acute sinusitis don’t need to consult a doctor.
See your doctor if you have any of the following:
Symptoms that either don’t improve within a few days or worsen
A persistent fever
A history of continual or chronic sinusitis
Acute sinusitis usually caused by the common cold, which is a viral infection. In most cases, a bacterial infection develops.
You may be at high risk of getting sinusitis if you have:
Hay fever or another allergic condition that affects your sinuses
A nasal passage abnormality, including a deviated nasal septum, nasal polyps or tumors.
A medical condition including cystic fibrosis or an immune system disorder such as HIV/AIDS
Acute sinusitis complications are rare. If they occur, they might involve:
Chronic sinusitis: Acute sinusitis may be a sprout of a long-term problem known as chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis stays longer than 12 weeks.
Meningitis: This infection triggers inflammation of the membranes and fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord.
Other infections: Rarely, infection can spread to the bones (osteomyelitis) or skin (cellulitis).
Partial or complete loss of sense of smell: Nasal obstruction and inflammation of the nerve for smell (olfactory nerve) can result to temporary or permanent loss of smell.
Vision problems: If infection extends to your eye socket, it can cause poor vision or even blindness that can be permanent.
Take these measures to help reduce your risk of getting acute sinusitis:
Avoid upper respiratory infections: Reduce contact with people who have colds. Constantly wash your hands with soap and water, especially before your meals.
Manage your allergies: Work with your doctor to keep symptoms under control.
Avoid cigarette smoke and polluted air: Tobacco smoke and other pollutants can cause irritation and inflame your lungs and nasal passages.
Use a humidifier: If the air in your home is dry, such as it is if you have forced-air heat, adding moisture to the air may help stop sinusitis. Keep the humidifier clean with free of mold and regular, thorough cleaning.