Virtual Care > Virtual Care: Sinusitis
Sinusitis (often called a sinus infection) is an inflammation, or swelling, of the tissue lining the sinuses. Sometimes, after a cold or allergy episode, sinus passages become blocked and filled with fluid. Germs (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) can then grow in that fluid and cause an infection. Besides the common cold, sinus blockage is caused by allergic rhinitis (swelling of the lining of the nose), nasal polyps (small growths in the lining of the nose), a deviated septum (a shift in the nasal cavity) and more. Additionally, sinusitis may be caused by:
Acute: Sudden onset of cold-like symptoms (runny, stuffy nose and facial pain) that does not go away after 10 to 14 days. It typically lasts four weeks or less.
Subacute: Inflammation lasting four to eight weeks
Chronic: Inflammation lasting eight weeks or longer
Recurrent: Three or more episodes of acute sinusitis within a year
Always consult a doctor for a diagnosis, but these common sinusitis symptoms will alert you to a problem:
When acute sinusitis doesn’t get better on its own, your health care provider may prescribe medications to clear up the infection and/or relieve allergies. Decongestants help to relieve swelling. (Use decongestant sprays for short periods only under the direction of your doctor.) For recurrent acute and chronic sinusitis, your health care provider may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist for testing and treatment. In addition to medications, treatments may include allergy shots or even surgery.
Visit with a Virtual Care health care provider on the phone or online for help with your symptoms.