What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis, commonly called a sinus infection, is an inflammation and infection of the air-filled spaces that are located within the bones in and around the nose (paranasal sinuses). This results in swelling of the mucus membranes that line the sinuses, pain and pressure in and around the eyes and cheekbones, and a thick green discharge from the nose.

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Sinusitis is a common condition that is caused by a viral infection, bacterial infection, or rarely, a fungal infection. Sinusitis occurs when the body’s immune system is unable to stop harmful bacteria, viruses or fungi from reproducing in the sinuses.

Treatment for sinusitis varies depending on the cause, severity of symptoms, presence of complications, and a person’s medical history. Treatment may include a humidifier, medications or possibly surgery.

In some cases, sinusitis can spread from the sinuses to the nervous system and lead to life-threatening infections and complications, such as meningitis and brain abscess. Seek prompt medical care if you develop symptoms of sinusitis or if you have sinusitis that is not getting better. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have symptoms of sinusitis that are accompanied by a change in alertness or consciousness, a seizure, or a stiff neck.


What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

How sinusitis affects people can vary. It is often easy to confuse sinusitis with migraine headache, since they have similar symptoms. Common symptoms of sinusitis include:... Read more about sinusitissymptoms


What causes sinusitis?

Sinusitis is caused by a viral infection, bacterial infection, or rarely, a fungal infection. Infections that cause sinusitis can be spread from person to person when someone with a respiratory tract infection or cold talks, coughs or sneezes. This shoots droplets contaminated with bacteria, viruses or fungi into the air, where they can be breathed into the nose and sinuses by others.... Read more about sinusitiscauses


How is sinusitis treated?

The treatment plan for sinusitis uses a multipronged approach aimed at relieving nasal congestion, clearing the infection, improving breathing, and reducing pain and pressure.... Read more about sinusitistreatments

Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian MD Last Annual Review Date: Jan 6, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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