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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Ear Nose and Throat Disorders Sinusitis


It is an inflammation of the tissues lining the sinuses. The sinuses are filled with air normally, but when the opening of the sinuses become blocked, it gets filled with fluid and an infection with, germs (bacteria, viruses and fungi) will grow and cause an infection.

What are the types?

  • Acute sinusitis: It is characterized by sudden onset of cold-like symptoms such as running nose, nasal stuffiness, fever, headache and facial pain lasting for more than 7-10 days. It is followed by facial pain lasting for about 4 weeks or so.
  • Sub acute sinusitis: It is an inflammation with less prominent features but lasting 4-8 weeks.
  • Chronic sinusitis: It is an inflammation lasting more than 8 weeks.
  • Recurrent sinusitis: If there are many attacks in a year, it is said to be recurrent.

Who are prone to the attacks?

  • Those having nasal mucous membrane swelling from a common cold
  • Those having blockage of ducts of the sinus
  • Those having a deviated nasal septum
  • Those having immune deficiency disorder
  • Those taking medications that suppress the immune system

What are the causes?

In children, the causes are allergies, spread of common cold from other children at school, pacifiers, infants fed by bottle while lying on the back, and environmental pollution.

In adults, infections and smoking are the two most important factors.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Facial pain
  • Stuffy nose
  • Discharge from nostrils
  • Loss of smell
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dental pain
  • Discolored postnasal drainage

How is it diagnosed?

Your symptoms will be analyzed and a physical examination will help in diagnosis.

Other tests may be prescribed as and when required like mucus culture, nasal endoscopy, X-rays, allergy testing, CT scan of the sinuses etc…

How is sinusitis treated?

  • Acute sinusitis - Decongestants and steam inhalations will suffice. The decongestant nasal drops will be effective in controlling symptoms.
  • Chronic sinusitis - A vaporizer or steam inhalation from a pan of boiling water will be of help. Saline nose drops can help relieve nose blocks. The decongestant nasal drops or sprays might be effective in controlling symptoms.

What are the home remedies?

Stop smoking. Drinking extra fluids helps to thin secretions.