Sinus is an inflammation of the sinuses. It is often caused by bacterial (germ) infection. Sometimes, viruses and fungi (molds) cause it. People having weak immune systems are more likely to develop bacterial or fungal sinus infection. Some people with allergies can have "allergic fungal sinus infection." Acute sinus infection lasts for 3 to 8 weeks. A sinus infection lasting longer than 8 weeks is considered to be chronic.
Some people have bodily defects that contribute to sinus infection. The most common of these defects are: Deformity of the bony partition between the two nasal passages, Nasal polyps (benign nasal growths that contain mucus), A narrowing of the sinus openings
People with these defects often suffer from chronic sinus infections.
Signs & Symptoms of Sinus Infection:
Facial pain or pressure: Pain is a traditional symptom in sinus. An individual may feel pain around the eyes, under their eyes, on their forehead, and around their nose. It can also cause a person to feel pain in their teeth. Sinus pain can also feel like a basic headache. Pain may get worse when a person strains or bends down.
Nasal discharge: Nasal discharge is prominent in sinusitis because the mucous membrane of the nose and sinuses are attached. The drainage can be cloudy or colored green or yellow, thick, blood-tinged and foul-smelling. This increase in discharge is why people need to blow their nose consecutively. Incase discharge trickles down the throat it may cause an unpleasant taste in the mouth and an itching sensation at the back of the throat which is referred to as a post-nasal drip.
Cough and sore throat: The trickle of fluid can irritate the throat and produce a cough. Post-nasal drip can also cause a person's voice to sound hoarse and potentially produce bad breath or sore throat. The inflamed sinuses can affect breathing. Because of the swelling of the sinuses and nasal passages, it is complicated for air to travel past. This can also impact a person’s sense of smell and taste.
Viral sinusitis: The symptoms of viral sinusitis tend to be cold-like viz. sore throat, sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose and coughing. Mucus can be clear, or slightly colored.
Bacterial sinusitis: One of the symptoms of bacterial sinusitis is nasal discharge. The nasal passages are swollen and can also cause post-nasal drip. People tend to experience facial pain and pressure.
Allergic sinusitis: Sinusitis through an allergy causes inflammation. It leads to nasal congestion and swelling of the mucous membranes which can block normal sinus drainage. Allergic sinusitis mostly leads to chronic sinusitis. Symptoms can be seasonal, or last all year round, and include sneezing, itchy nose, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, runny (clear mucus) nose.
Chronic sinusitis: Chronic sinusitis possibly causes subtle symptoms that stay for months. Nasal congestion and post-nasal drainage are traditionally the symptoms of chronic sinusitis. A cough that is worse at night or in the morning is common. Nasal polyps are soft, painless, noncancerous growths on the lining of one’s nasal passages or sinuses. They hang down like teardrops. Nasal steroid sprays are presumably used as a form of treatment. Fungus is anticipated cause of chronic sinusitis.
Although most cases of sinus infection are not complicated, potentially life-threatening complications of acute bacterial sinusitis can occur. Facial pain or pressure is one of the major symptoms of sinusitis.
Complications of sinus infection include:
Symptoms of these rare complications include:
Allergy testing performed by an allergist/immunologist can identify what allergic triggers might be behind your chronic i.e. reoccurring sinus infections.
In chronic or severe cases, your doctor may also test your nasal passages using a technique called rhinoscopy or nasal endoscopy. In this procedure, a thin, flexible instrument is inserted up the nostril to have a look at the sinus passages and see for blockages. Your doctor may order an MRI or CT scan to look for abnormalities in the sinuses – narrow drainage passages, polyps or a deviated septum.
Make an appointment with your doctor immediately if you have: a fever, redness on the cheek or around the eye, pain or swelling in the face or eye, severe headaches, confusion or a stiff neck.