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Symptoms of Sinus Infection in Adults

Symptoms of Sinus Infection in Adults

A sinus infection is a condition that causes inflammation of the cavities around the nasal passages. This article discusses the symptoms of sinus infection in adults.
Rajib Singha
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2018
Sinus Infection, also known as sinusitis, may occur in two forms; acute and chronic. The former occurs suddenly while the latter, which is also the most common one, develops gradually with time. The acute form usually lasts for 4-8 weeks and commonly occur 3 times a year for an average person. However, when it comes to the chronic type, the condition may last for more than 12 weeks, and may keep recurring. Most people suffer from it for about 4 times a year.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
The symptoms that indicate the onset of a sinusitis are obvious and easy to detect. The following table presents the symptoms of the infection in adults according to the type (acute or chronic) and the sinuses that are affected. The sinus comprises frontal sinuses (in the forehead), maxillary sinuses (behind the cheek bones), ethmoid sinuses (between the eyes), and sphenoid sinuses (behind the eyes).
Sinuses Symptoms
Frontal sinusitis
  • The forehead is affected by a throbbing pain.
  • The pain gets better when sitting or standing with the head in an upright position, but worsens with a reclining one.
  • Fever, postnasal drip, and nasal discharge.
Maxillary sinusitis
  • The pain radiates around the cheekbone area. It may spread to the areas under the eyes or under the teeth.
  • The cheekbones may appear swollen or tender to touch.
  • When the patient keeps the head in an upright position, the pain worsens, but improves when reclining.
  • Postnasal drip; may be accompanied by fever.
Ethmoid sinusitis
  • Postnasal drip
  • Pain around the inner corner of the eye is common.
  • The pain can also affect the temple or areas around the nose.
  • This pain worsens with coughing, sneezing, bending, etc.
Sphenoid sinusitis
  • The symptoms may include pain that can be felt behind the eye, on top the head, and across the forehead as well.
  • If the person lies on his back or bends forward, then the pain aggravates.
  • Visual disturbances may also occur as a result of this sinusitis.
  • Fever is common, and so is nasal discharge and postnasal drip.

Sinuses Symptoms
Frontal sinusitis
  • Pain in the forehead stays with a mild intensity.
Maxillary sinusitis
  • A constant discomfort or pressure under the eyes is one of the common symptoms.
  • Toothache may be present and may be long-lasting.
  • Conditions such as colds, flu, or allergies tend to worsen the symptoms.
  • Cough increases at night.
Ethmoid sinusitis
  • Sore throat accompanied by bad breath. These symptoms may be chronic in nature, happening almost everyday.
  • The pain tends to be worse in the morning.
  • Nasal discharge may be chronic in nature.
Sphenoid sinusitis
  • A low-grade headache.
The common factors which are known to cause sinusitis may include the following:
  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Tumors on nasal passages
  • Infection of teeth
  • Allergies
  • Nasal polyps
  • Deviated nasal septum
  • Immune system disorders

The treatment is to address the causes. In case of acute sinusitis, the most common cause is a viral infection. That is why, it does not really require any treatment, except that the person must take plenty of rest. Also, making use of nasal decongestants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and over-the-counter pain relievers are good enough to improve the symptoms while the condition is getting healed.
In case of a chronic sinusitis, bacterial infection or fungal infection are the common offenders, including the others that have been mentioned above. Antibiotics or antifungals are used to treat a chronic sinus infection. Even if the condition gets better, the symptoms tend to recur, and that is why in most cases, the chronic type cannot be cured. Thus, the treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms and improving the quality of life. Doctors aim for reducing the inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages, helping the sinus to drain, and preventing or treating any infection.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.