Sinus infection, also referred to as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, is an inflammation of the tissue lining the sinus cavities.
The inflammation, caused by a virus, bacteria, fungus or as a result of allergies, prevents the sinuses – a connected system of air-filled cavities located in the skull – from draining normally, leading to a build-up of mucus and secondary infection.
Acute sinusitis often occurs after a viral upper respiratory tract infection (URI).
The main symptoms of sinus infection are nasal obstruction, discolored nasal discharge, and facial pain or pressure that has been present for 7 days or more.
Symptoms of sinus infection
A sinus infection consists of three main symptoms:
Facial pain or pressure is one of the three main symptoms of sinusitis.
- Facial pain or pressure
- Nasal obstruction
- Nasal discharge.
The pain from sinusitis may be felt around the eyes, under the eyes, on the forehead and around the nose. Because the roots of the teeth project into the floor of the maxillary sinus, pain is sometimes felt in the teeth.
Sinus pain can also feel like a generalized headache. The pain is often described as throbbing, and may worsen with straining or bending down.
Nasal obstruction and nasal discharge are prominent in sinusitis as the mucosa of the nose and sinuses are adjoining. The drainage may be cloudy or colored green or yellow, blood-tinged, thick and foul-smelling.
Additional symptoms of sinus infection may include:
- Post-nasal drip
- Loss of smell
- A feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear
- Bad breath