You know the feeling: runny nose, headache, sinus congestion. Is it just a cold? Or something more serious? If it’s a sinus infection, that’s a more serious condition.
Your sinuses are bony, air-filled cavities inside your face and skull. A sinus infection, also called rhinosinusitis or sinusitis, is an inflammation of the soft tissues that line the sinuses.
There are two kinds of sinusitis: a short-term or acute sinus infection which can occur after a cold, an allergy attack, or from pollutants in the environment; and a long-term or chronic sinus infection that lasts longer than 12 weeks.
Causes of sinusitis may be classified under the following:
Sinus congestion, discharge, and pressure with facial pain or headaches could mean you have a cold. But if the discharge from your nose is yellow or discoloured you may have a sinus infection.
Chronic sinus infections can affect your quality of life and make you constantly tired. If you have asthma, sinus infections may make it worse.
The following factors may increase your risk of a sinus infection:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. He or she may tap areas of your face to find out if any sinus openings are tender. Sometimes a CT exam is useful as well.
If your symptoms don’t go away with the treatment your family doctor provides, you may be referred to a doctor called an Otolaryngologist. This Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist will use a nasal endoscope to look inside your nose for blockage. An endoscope is a very thin instrument with a light at the end of it, like a tiny telescope.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.