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 might be difficult to breathe through your nose. The area around your eyes and face might feel swollen, and you might have throbbing facial pain or a headache.
Acute sinusitis is mostly caused by the common cold. Unless a bacterial infection develops, most cases resolve within a week to 10 days.
In most cases, home remedies are all that's needed to treat acute sinusitis. However, persistent sinusitis can lead to serious infections and other complications. Sinusitis that lasts more than 12 weeks despite medical treatment is called chronic sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis symptoms often include:
Other signs and symptoms can include:
Most people with acute sinusitis don't need to see a doctor.
Contact your doctor if you have any of the following:
Acute sinusitis is most often caused by the common cold, which is a viral infection. In some cases, a bacterial infection develops.
Your doctor will feel for tenderness in your nose and face and look inside your nose.
Other methods that might be used to diagnose acute sinusitis and rule out other conditions include:
Acute sinusitis complications are uncommon. If they occur, they might include:
Take these steps to help reduce your risk of getting acute sinusitis:
No alternative therapies have been proved to ease the symptoms of acute sinusitis, but products containing certain combinations of herbs may help. These combination therapies, sold under brand names such as Sinupret and SinuGuard, contain 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:
Rinse your nasal passages. Use a specially designed squeeze bottle (Sinus Rinse, others) or neti pot. This home remedy, called nasal lavage, can help clear your sinuses.
If you make your own rinse, use water that's contaminant-free â distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered using a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller â to make up the irrigation solution. Also be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with contaminant-free water and leave open to air-dry.
You may be at increased risk of getting sinusitis if you have: