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by Carson-DeWitt R

(Sinus Infection; Acute Sinusitis; Chronic Sinusitis)


Risk Factors

These factors increase your chance of developing sinusitis. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Sinusitis is diagnosed based on its symptoms and tenderness of the sinuses when pressed.
Tests may include:
You have may acute sinusitis when the following occurs:
  • History of 10 or more days of colored mucus
  • Tenderness over the sinuses
  • Fever
  • Visible infected mucus in the nose
  • Difficulty smelling


Home Care

  • Hydrating—Drinking lots of fluids may keep your nasal secretions thin. This will avoid plugging up your nasal passages and sinuses. Salt water nose sprays or irrigation may also loosen nasal secretions.
  • Using steam treatments—Keep a humidifier running in your bedroom. Fill a bowl with steaming water every couple of hours. Make a steam tent with a towel over your head. This will let you breathe in the steam.
  • Nasal and sinus washes


Surgery is a last resort for people with very troublesome, serious chronic sinusitis. It includes:
  • Repair of a deviated septum
  • Removal of nasal polyps
  • Functional endoscopic sinus surgery—a lighted scope is used to enlarge the sinuses to improve drainage
  • Balloon sinuplasty—a tube with a balloon attached is inserted into the sinuses (the balloon is inflated to open the sinus passages)
If you are diagnosed with sinusitis, follow your doctor's instructions .


If you have a tendency to get sinusitis following a cold or allergy attack, try these preventive measures:
  • Have allergy testing to find out what things you are allergic to and to learn how to treat your allergies.
  • Avoid substances you know you are allergic to.
  • If you have allergies, consider using cortisone nasal spray or antihistamines to decrease inflammation.
  • If you get a cold, drink lots of fluids and use a decongestant (either pills or nasal spray).
  • Sinus washes.
  • Blow your nose gently, while pressing one nostril closed.
  • Try not to fly in an airplane when you are congested. If you must fly, use a nasal spray decongestant to decrease inflammation prior to takeoff and landing.
  • Use a humidifier when you have a cold, allergic symptoms, or sinusitis.
  • Use High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters for your furnace and vacuum cleaner to remove allergens from the air.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke.


American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases



Allergy Asthma Information Association

Calgary Allergy Network



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1/10/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Williamson IG, Rumsby K, Benge S, et al. Antibiotics and topical nasal steroid for treatment of acute maxillary sinusitis: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA . 2007;298:2487-2496.

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