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Sinusitis - Symptoms

Pain and pressure in the face along with a stuffy or runny nose are the main symptoms of sinusitis. You also may have a yellow or greenish discharge from your nose. Leaning forward or moving your head often increases facial pain and pressure.

The location of pain and tenderness may depend on which sinus camera.gif is affected.

Other common symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Headache.
  • Yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat.
  • Bad breath.
  • Stuffy nose.
  • Cough that produces mucus.
  • Fever.
  • Tooth pain.
  • Reduced sense of taste or smell.

Acute (sudden) sinusitis is usually caused by a viral infection and often develops rapidly. It usually lasts for 4 weeks or less, and the symptoms often begin to clear up within a week without any treatment. Acute sinusitis caused by a bacterial infection is less likely to clear up on its own and may lead to chronic sinusitis or to complications in which the infection spreads beyond the sinuses. Nasal discharge that contains pus and gets worse after 5 days or persists for more than 10 days may be a sign of acute sinusitis caused by a bacterial infection.

Chronic (long-term) sinusitis is usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. These infections may be difficult to treat. If chronic sinusitis is not cured after trying two or more different antibiotics, you may want to talk with your doctor about surgery or allergy testing. Chronic sinusitis can lead to permanent changes in the mucous membranes that line the sinuses and may make you more prone to sinus infections.

Symptoms of sinusitis in children include coughing, nasal discharge that lasts more than 7 to 10 days, and complaints of headache and facial pain. Many children age 2 or older with chronic sinusitis may also have allergies and frequent ear infections.

Other conditions that have symptoms similar to sinusitis may include allergies, toothaches, and colds or other upper respiratory infections. But if you've had a cold that returns or gets worse after 7 days, you may have a sinus infection rather than a cold or other upper respiratory infection.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 24, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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