Conditions InDepth: Sinusitis

Conditions InDepth: Sinusitis

Sinusitis is inflammation and infection of the sinus cavities. The sinus cavities are air-filled spaces in the skull. Sinusitis usually occurs with rhinitis. Rhinitis is inflammation in the nasal passages. When sinusitis and rhinitis happen together, it is called rhinosinusitis. Rhinosinusitis may be:

  • Acute—lasts less than 4 weeks
  • Subacute —lasts 4 to 12 weeks
  • Recurrent —4 or more episodes per year with no symptoms between episodes
  • Chronic —lasts more than 12 weeks

Paranasal Sinuses

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Acute sinusitis is linked to certain bacteria, viruses, and other causes.

The bacteria are often found in the nose and throat of healthy people. They cause other common conditions. Examples are acute bronchitis and ear infections.

The common cold or other upper respiratory infection often happens just before a bacterial infection.

Certain other bacteria and fungi can cause chronic sinusitis.

Sinus Infection

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Sinusitis starts with swelling of the nasal and sinus passages. Tiny hairs called cilia usually help shift mucus out of the sinuses. With sinusitis, these hairs stop working as well as they should. The swelling and impaired cilia make it hard for mucus to move out of the sinuses. Mucus buildup and air lead to pressure and pain. It also creates a place for bacteria and viruses to grow.

Sinusitis is a very common problem.

Next

References:

Acute rhinosinusitis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-rhinosinusitis-in-adults. Accessed November 15, 2021.
Chronic rhinosinusitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-rhinosinusitis. Accessed November 15, 2021.
Sinusitis. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/sinusitis/. Accessed November 15, 2021.
Sinusitis overview. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: https://www.aaaai.org/Conditions-Treatments/allergies/sinusitis. Accessed November 15, 2021.
Last reviewed November 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 11/17/2021

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Home |Terms and Conditions |Concerned About Privacy? |Accessibility |Careers |For Employers and Medical Plan Providers

You may also be looking for: CVS/pharmacy | MinuteClinic | Specialty Pharmacy | SilverScript | Accordant