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Sinusitis is an infection of the lining of the sinuses near the nose. These infections most often happen after a cold or after an allergy flare-up. There are 4 types:
The sinuses are cavities, or air-filled pockets, that are near the nose passage. The sinuses make mucus. This fluid cleans the bacteria and other particles out of the air you breathe.
A sinus infection can happen after a cold. The cold inflames the nasal passages. This can block the opening of the sinuses and lead to infection. Allergies can also cause the nasal tissue to swell and make more mucus and cause sinusitis.
Other conditions that can lead to sinusitis include:
If mucus drainage is blocked, bacteria may start to grow. This leads to a sinus infection, or sinusitis. The most common viruses and bacteria that cause sinusitis also cause the flu or certain kinds of pneumonia.
The symptoms of sinusitis may depend on your age. These are the most common symptoms of sinusitis:
Older children and adults
The symptoms of sinusitis may look like other conditions or health problems. Always talk to your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Often, your healthcare provider can diagnosis sinusitis based on your symptoms and a physical exam. Sometimes other tests are done. These may include:
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best care based on:
Treatment of sinusitis may include:
You may be referred to an allergist or immunologist, especially for chronic or recurrent sinusitis. People who have had sinus surgery, but still have sinusitis, may also be referred.
Decongestants and antihistamines do not seem to help the symptoms of sinusitis.
You should see a healthcare provider right away if you have:
These symptoms may point to a serious condition.
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