For patients

Do you have sinusitis? 

Sinusitis means your sinuses are inflamed. The cause can be an infection or another factor. Your sinuses are empty air spaces (cavities) within the bones surrounding the nose. The mucosa that covers the inside of the sinuses produces mucus, which drains into the nose. If your nasal mucosa is swollen, this can block the drainage of the fluid from the sinus to the nose and throat, causing pain and pressure in the sinuses.

There are several types of sinusitis, including:

  • Acute, which lasts up to 4 weeks
  • Subacute, which lasts from 4 to 12 weeks
  • Chronic, which lasts more than 12 weeks and can continue for months or even years
  • Recurrent, with several relapses within a year


Acute sinusitis often starts as a cold, which then turns into a bacterial infection. Allergies, nasal problems, and certain diseases can also cause acute and chronic sinusitis.

Symptoms of sinusitis can include fever, weakness, fatigue, cough, and nasal congestion. There may also be mucus drainage in the back of the throat, called postnasal drip. Your health care professional diagnoses sinusitis based on your symptoms and an examination of your nose and face. You may also need imaging tests. Treatments include antibiotics, decongestants, and pain relievers. Using heat pads on the inflamed area, saline nasal sprays, and vaporizers can also help.