You know the feeling: runny nose, headache, sinus congestion. Is it just a cold? Or something more serious? If it’s a sinus infection, that’s a much more serious condition. About 31 million Americans suffer from chronic sinus infections — known as sinusitis.1 If you’re one of them and continue to battle sinus pain, headaches, and emotional drain for 12 weeks or more no matter what treatments you try, you may be dealing with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).1,2
Your sinuses are bony, air-filled cavities inside your face and skull. A sinus infection, also called rhinosinusitis, is an inflammation of the soft tissues that line the sinuses. This inflammation or swelling can stop your sinuses from draining properly. The buildup can then lead to infection, which causes even more inflammation and pain.
You have four types of sinuses — frontal, ethmoid, sphenoid, and maxillary — and sinusitis can affect any of them.
Sinus congestion, discharge, and pressure with facial pain or headaches could mean you have a cold. But if the discharge from your nose is yellow or discolored, you may have a sinus infection.
Chronic sinus infections can reduce your quality of life and make you constantly tired. If you have asthma, sinus infections may make it worse.
There are two kinds of sinusitis. A short-term or acute sinus infection can occur after a cold, an allergy attack, or from pollutants in the environment. A long-term or chronic sinus infection is one that lasts longer than 12 weeks.
|Sinusitis Symptom Duration||Sinusitis Type|
|Up to 4 weeks||Acute|
|Longer than 4 weeks, less than 12 weeks||Subacute|
|12 weeks or longer||Chronic|
|Occurs 4+ times per year, but goes away between episodes||Recurrent acute sinusitis|
Fill out a short self-assessment to find out whether you may be suffering from chronic sinusitis.
Doctors classify the causes of sinusitis this way:
The underlying cause behind your sinusitis may have implications for how you respond to treatment and which treatment options your doctor recommends.
These factors can increase your risk of a sinus infection:
To diagnose a sinus infection, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. He or she may tap areas of your face to find out if any sinus openings are tender. Your doctor may also take a sample of your nasal discharge to determine what kind of infection you might have.
Your doctor may order a CT scan that creates images of the inside of your sinuses. This can help your doctor more accurate diagnose your condition and select the best treatment option for you.3EXPLORE TREATMENT OPTIONS
Rosenfeld RM, Andes D, Bhattacharyva N, et al. Clinical practice guidelines: Adult sinusitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg.2007;137:S1-S31.
Data on File. Medtronic, Inc.
American Rhinologic Society. Sinusitis Q&A. http://care.american-rhinologic.org/sinusitis_q_a? Accessed October 16, 2015.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.