Sinus Infections

Sinusitis, often referred to as sinus infection, is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. Sometimes, after a cold or allergy episode, the sinuses clog and fill up with fluid. Germs such as bacteria, viruses and fungi can then grow in this fluid and cause an infection.

In addition to the common cold, sinus blockage may be caused by allergic rhinitis (swelling of the nasal mucosa), nasal polyps (small growths in the nasal mucosa), a deviated septum (a shift in the nasal cavity) and much more. 

In addition, sinusitis can be caused by:

  • Abnormalities in the structure of the nose

  • Enlarged adenoids

  • Diving and swimming

  • Tooth infections

  • Nose injury

  • Foreign objects stuck in the nose

  • Secondhand smoke

Common Types of Sinusitis

  • Acute: sudden onset of cold symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose and facial pain that does not disappear after 10 to 14 days and typically lasts no longer than four weeks

  • Subacute: Inflammation lasting four to eight weeks

  • Chronic: Inflammation lasting more than eight weeks

  • Recurrent: Three or more episodes of acute sinusitis within a year


Always consult a licensed health care provider for a diagnosis, but these common sinusitis symptoms will alert you to a problem:

  • Nasal congestion

  • Thick, colored nasal drainage

  • Postnasal drainage (down the back of the throat)

  • Headache

  • Cough

  • Pain or soreness over sinuses

  • Fever and loss of smell


When acute sinusitis does not improve on its own, your licensed health care provider may prescribe medications to eliminate the infection and / or alleviate allergies. Decongestants help with swelling. Use decongestant sprays for a short time only under the guidance of your licensed doctor. 

In case of recurrent acute and chronic sinusitis, your licensed doctor may refer you to an ENT specialist for examination and treatment. In addition to medications, allergy vaccinations or even surgery may also be used for treatment.

Visit with a Virtual Care health care provider on the phone or online for help with your symptoms.