Acute sinusitis (acute rhinosinusitis) causes the cavities around your nasal passages (sinuses) to become inflamed and swollen. This interferes with drainage and causes mucus to build up.
With acute sinusitis, it may be difficult to breathe through your nose. The area around your eyes and face may feel swollen, and you may have throbbing facial pain or a headache.
Acute sinusitis is most often caused by the common cold. Other triggers include allergies, bacterial and fungal infections. Treatment of acute sinusitis depends on the cause. In most cases, home remedies are all that's needed. However, persistent sinusitis can lead to serious infections and other complications. Sinusitis that lasts more than eight weeks or keeps coming back is called chronic sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis symptoms often include:
Other signs and symptoms can include:
If you have mild symptoms of sinusitis, try self-care.
Contact your doctor if you have any of the following:
See a doctor immediately if you have signs or symptoms that may indicate a serious infection:
When you have sinusitis, the mucous membranes of your nose, sinuses and throat (upper respiratory tract) become inflamed. Swelling obstructs the sinus openings and prevents mucus from draining normally, causing facial pain and other sinusitis symptoms.
Blocked sinuses create a moist environment that makes it easier for infection to take hold. Sinuses that become infected and can't drain become pus filled, leading to signs and symptoms such as thick, yellow or greenish discharge and other symptoms of infection.
Acute sinusitis can be caused by:
Some health conditions can increase your risk of getting a sinus infection that causes sinusitis, or can increase your risk of getting sinusitis that isn't caused by an underlying infection. These conditions include:
Your doctor may use several methods to help screen for acute sinusitis, such as:
Acute sinusitis complications include:
Take these steps to help reduce your risk of getting acute sinusitis:
No alternative therapies have been definitively proven to help ease the symptoms of acute sinusitis, but products containing certain combinations of herbs may improve your symptoms. These combination therapies, sold under brand names such as Sinupret and SinuGuard, contain a mixture of cowslip, gentian root, elderflower, verbena and sorrel. Possible side effects include stomach upset, diarrhea and allergic skin reactions.
These self-help steps can help relieve sinusitis symptoms:
You may be at increased risk of getting sinusitis if you have: