What are the symptoms of a sinus infection?

Sinusitis affects the nasal cavities and is also known as rhinosinusitis. Although it can have a number of different causes the most common is a virus. Other causes include bacteria or even a fungus. Sinus pain can also be triggered by issues such as a tooth infection or allergies but this isn’t actually sinusitis. Suffering from sinusitis can be a short-term problem - acute sinusitis usually lasts for under a month. However, some people can suffer from chronic sinusitis which can take more than 12 weeks to resolve. Whether your sinusitis is acute or chronic there are some key symptoms to look out for.

  • Facial pain. Specifically, this pain is located in the areas where your sinuses are - behind your nose as well as above and below your eyes. This pain is the result of swelling in your sinuses and you may feel it across your forehead, around your eyes as well as in your jaw.
  • A runny nose. Nasal discharge is another common symptom of a sinus infection although it can vary from person to person. You may find that you have cloudy green or yellow nasal discharge. This discharge is the result of your sinuses draining - you may find that you need to blow or nose more often or that you can feel it dripping down the back of your throat.
  • A cough. Especially if you have chronic sinusitis you may find that you experience irritation as the discharge from your sinuses drips down your throat. This irritation can result in a cough that can also make it difficult for you to sleep. Usually, sleeping slightly upright or with your head elevated can help to reduce the amount that you cough and improve quality of sleep.
  • Problems with your throat. As well as a cough, the impact of nasal discharge dripping down the back of your throat can also make it feel sore. You may have a hoarse voice and a lot of pain as a result of the irritation being caused by the postnasal drip.
  • Breathing difficulties. In particular, sinusitis usually makes it difficult to breathe through your nose. Your sinuses and nasal passages can become inflamed and you may also be suffering from congestion. This can mean that you find it difficult to breathe through your nose and also to taste or smell.
  • A headache - or pain in your ears, jaw, teeth and cheeks. Symptoms such as headache or earache are common with sinusitis because of the swelling and pressure that it causes. In particular you may find that this kind of discomfort is at its worst first thing in the morning when the fluids in your sinuses have been pooling during the night.

Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and can clear up on its own but there are exceptions to this. Especially if you have a fever or facial pain that lasts for more than 10 days you may need to seek medical help as there may be another underlying condition that is also contributing to how you feel.

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The Harley Street ENT clinic in London can provide all of the care that you need when you have an ear, nose, throat or balance problem. We ensure that you can get all of the right tests, treatments and advice in one convenient place.