Sinus Infection: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

Sinus is the cavity of nasal passage within bones and other tissue of face and skull. Nearly 16 to 20 percent of children and adults suffer from this disease. It occurs in women more than men.

The human skull comprises four significant pairs of vacant air-filled cavities describe as sinuses. These are located behind the nose and between nasal passage and nostrils. Sinuses help to protect the skull by reducing its weight. It makes to echo the voice within it. Here are the four important sinuses parts.

  • Frontal sinuses located in the forehead
  • Ethmoid sinuses located between the eyes
  • Sphenoid sinuses locate behind the eyes
  • Maxillary sinuses locate behind the cheekbones

Sinus infection also describes as sinusitis which is swelling of sinuses induced by an infection. This infection common and medication can recover fast.

Causes of sinus infection


Most of the time sinus infection affect due to cold. The cold attack happens because of a virus which blocks holes and causes swelling in nasal tissues which helps to drain the sinus.

Sinus infection occurred by the virus will not heal with antibiotics because medications can kill the bacteria. You will experience the sinus infection caused by a virus for weeks. You can prevent this infection with nasal decongestant but do not use for more than five days which might make you dependent.

The best prevention you can do against virus attack is to protect yourself from cold and flu. Practice hygiene by regular washing hands and maintain distance with sick individuals.


Some people develop a sinus infection due to allergies. It causes inflammation which blocks nasal passages and stops sinus draining.

According to study, people with sinus infection related to allergies are more likely to develop extensive sinusitis started by Dr. Sonia from medical university of southern California.

If you have sinus infection by allergies, then avoid allergic things such as

  • Dust Mites
  • Mold
  • Pet Dander
  • Cockroaches
  • Cold breeze

These reactions can prevent through antihistamines and nasal spray. It will help to reduce chronic inflammation in nasal lining and sinuses.


When your sinus does not go in 10 to 15 days, it means the bacteria have gathered. Bacterial infections are rare during a sinus infection, but they can complicate the infection condition stated by Dr. William J Hueston from the Medical University of South California.

These bacteria wait to grow in the right situation and sneak healthy people. You can treat bacterial sinusitis with decongestant and antibiotics.


Nasal polyps are tiny harmless abnormal tissues growth from sinus or nose. It causes sinus cavities and blocks the mucus. Lack of a draining problem causes the sinus infection. These tiny germs limit airway passage and lead to headaches.

According to Dr. Hueston, severe allergies can affect long-term injury and swell in nasal passage and polyps.

Often, people with polyps experience reduces smell sense. You can manage polyps with short oral steroids course or steroid nasal sprays. In the chronic condition where steroid doesn’t work, surgery is necessary.

Irritating pollutants

Environmental pollution, dirt, generic, strong perfume/smell and allergens from the air hugely contribute to nose irritation and cough. It leads to inflammation which develops the risk of sinus infection.

Prevent this polluted irritant in your daily life to decrease the recurrent of sinus infection specifically if you have asthma or allergies. You can take help with air purifier and self-care by avoiding such air irritants as much as possible.

Swimming and diving

If you get frequent congestion and sinus infection, then avoid staying a long time in chlorinated swimming pools because chlorine can irritate sinuses and nasal lining.

Water diving can also cause sinus problem. It pushes water into the sinuses which create inflammation and irritation into the tissues.

Air Travel

Excessive travel for work may affect your sinuses. During air travel, decreased air pressure leads to pressure accumulation in your head which blocks air passage and sinuses. This condition makes the symptoms worse.

You can use a decongestant nasal inhaler or drop before airplane takeoff. It can help if you have recurrent sinus infections.

Overuse of nasal products

The nasal decongestant spray provides relief in the nasal passage but over the use of such products compress the blood vessels inside the nose. Avoid depending on nasal spray which can make your symptoms worse if not used as prescribed.

Using nasal spray for a long time make you less sensitive and swelling occur in the nose. This condition describes as rebound nasal congestion.

Stop the nasal spray treatment to stay less dependent after the prescribed time.


Cigar and cigarette smell also a cause of sinus infection. It aggravates nasal passage and causes inflammation which results in sinus infections. Smokers are more likely to have increased the risk to develop the sinus infection. Cigarette smoke damages the sinus cleaning system. Therefore, as the mucus build-up, cause to clog the nasal passage in the cold.

Absence of moisture

Prolonged nasal blockage becomes dry and thick which easily causes sinusitis. Therefore, doctors suggest keeping your nose moisturized. Avoid caffeine and drink sufficient water. You can also manage a humidifier to create the humid in winter.

You can use saline sprays for occasional treatment to avoid sinus infections.

Nasal Abnormality

The people who are born with nasal abnormalities are more likely to be in a huge risk of sinus infection. Nasal tumor, narrow drainage, cleft palate stops the mucus drainage.

The mucus build-up gets the infection due to bacteria and viruses. When the center part of the nose moved to one side relates to a chronic sinus infection, which describes as a deviated septum. As the tissue masses enlarged adenoids in the nasal passage between the nasal cavity and throat, kills the germs.

These nasal abnormalities require surgery to prevent severe conditions.

Chronic medical ailments

Chronic health problems such as cystic fibrosis and other ailments attack the immune system. This condition leads to airway inflammation which develops thick mucus. The thick mucus and weakened ability to protect you from germs will lead to sinus infections. People with HIV or diabetes are more inclined to get the virus due to the weak immune system.

Symptoms of Sinus Infection

During cold or without cold you may experience various symptoms. At the same time, you may get multiple symptoms. Some individuals have seasonal symptoms, and some have mild signs. Here is the detail information about the symptoms of sinus infection.

Sinus pressure and pain

This symptom occurs when you have blocked fluid in sinus cavities which leads to pain and pressure. It can be sensitive, and the individual finds difficulty to sneeze with the intense urge of sneezing.

The pain occurs in sinus areas such as the forehead, eyes, nose, and cheeks. Moving your front head down will make the pain worse. This pain severity can extend at extreme levels to disturb the sleep. In some cases, pain occurs due to the tissue swelling.

A headache

The blocked air passage in front head occurs as a headache symptom of the sinus. In some cases, the pain spread in all overhead and neck. It is possible to feel intense pain when you move your head.

Postnasal drip

Postnasal drip is mucus which drops from the nose from the back of the throat. It causes reactions such as congestion, hoarseness, the pressure in the mouth and throat.


Possibly sinus infection occurs by virus, bacterial or fungal infection in their sinus. This condition happens because bacteria or virus has entered in the accumulated fluid in the sinus. The fluid accumulation and inflammation cause the affected person to feel congested.


You will have cough symptoms when the fluid and mucus stay back in the throat. It makes throat feel full and itchy. Some individual cough frequently to clear the throat but other may get an uncontrollable cough because of itchiness.


Often, fever is a sign that your body is fighting with some infection. In some cases, people develop a fever during a sinus infection. This fever comes with exhaustion, chills and muscles aches.

Bright color mucus

When sinus got bacteria, fungus or virus will cause to change the mucus color. People with chronic sinus infection experience yellow or green phlegm while they a cough. They also get bright color mucus when they blow out the nose.

A sinus infection causes more mucus production, and you may find it unable to clear the mucus even if you blow your nose many times.


It is common to feel fatigue during a sinus infection because the body requires extra energy to fight the infection. Some individuals feel exhausted because they feel pain and unable to breathe properly due to nasal blockage.

Bad breath

The phlegm related to sinus infection may have a bad smell which causes bad odor in a breath and bitter mouth taste.

Tooth pain

Acute sinus pressure cause gums pain, which leads to gum pain, toothaches, and mouth pain.

Chronic sinus pain

Some sinus infections become severe. Sinus problems which have pressure and pain stay for many weeks are not related to infection or allergy. It might be chronic sinusitis which needs more analysis and proper cause for treatment.


Some of the sinus infection signs are similar like colds and allergies. You may feel to visit the doctor after noticing repeated problems. If you feel you have sinusitis, then let your doctor know about your details of causes and symptoms. If you suffer from a constant sinus problem, then check with a doctor.

The sinus diagnosis method includes.

Nasal Endoscopy: It is a flexible thin tube with a fiber-optic light entered through your nose to check the infection inside. It describes as rhinoscopy.

Imaging Analysis: You will require CT scan or MRI tests, which shows nasal area and sinuses details. This imaging analysis helps to examine physical obstruction and deep inflammation, which are unable to detect in the endoscope.

Sinus and nasal culture: It is helpful for diagnosis when initial treatment failed, and the condition becomes worse. The tissue culture can help to determine the exact cause of infections such as fungi or bacteria.

Allergy test: If your doctor suspects that infection is causing through allergy than the doctor will advise the allergy skin test. This test will pinpoint the allergen which causing nasal problems.

Treatment for Sinus Infection

The treatment possibilities depend on the condition of the sinus infection.

  • Saline nasal spray: It helps to eliminate irritant, allergies and lessen drainage problem.
  • Nasal corticosteroids are also a spray for inflammation treatment. The nasal spray include
    • Fluticasone – Flonase, Veramyst
    • Triamcinolone – Nasacort 24
    • Budesonide – Rhinocort
    • Mometasone – Nasonex
    • Beclomethasone – Beconase AQ, Qnasl
  • Injected or Oral corticosteroids: These medicines help to relieve the severe sinus inflammation especially if you are suffering from polyps. Oral corticosteroids can create risky side effects if you use it for a long time. It is only good for treating severe symptoms.
  • Aspirin desensitization: This treatment is given only in medical supervision.


Antibiotics are important for sinus infection related to bacterial infection. It will help your doctor to determine initial treatment.


It describes as immunotherapy for the treatment of allergy-related sinus infection. It helps to decrease body’s reactions to a particular allergen.


Endoscopic sinus surgery is an option for treatment. Your doctor may perform this surgery with endoscopy to examine sinus passages

The surgery will depend on the nasal obstruction. Your doctor may use different medical types of equipment to remove the blocking tissues. Narrow sinus enlargement may also help to clear the drainage.

Home remedies for sinus infection

You can relieve sinus problem with self-help tips.

  • Taking enough rest during sinus problem helps to fight the virus and bacteria and promote fast recovery.
  • Drink enough water and juices. It helps to thin the mucus secretion and ease drainage.
  • Avoid alcohol-based beverages which cause dehydration. Alcohol also causes swelling in sinus lining.
  • Maintain moist in the sinus cavities. When you take medium hot water steam, drape the towel over head and breathe properly. Taking a hot shower also helps to create moist in the air passages and ease mucus drainage.
  • Put warm compression on your face. You can place a warm wet towel around cheeks, eyes, and nose to relieve the facial pain.
  • Rinse nasal passage with the saline canister to clear sinus.
  • Use contaminant-free water while preparing your rinse solution.
  • To make the irrigation solution, use only pure and filtered water an ideal pore size of one micron. Do not forget to wash your irrigation device after every time you use to make it contamination free and make it dry.
  • To make sinus drain easily keep your head elevated while sleeping.

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