Skip to content

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

Sinusitis - What Happens

There are two types of sinusitis: acute (sudden onset) and chronic (long-term). Sinusitis often develops after a cold or viral infection. Most sinus infections improve on their own, but sometimes they develop into a bacterial infection-swelling, inflammation, and mucus production caused by the cold can lead to blockage in the nasal passages, which may encourage the growth of bacteria.

Acute sinusitis, whether viral or bacterial, may develop into chronic inflammation or infections that may last 12 weeks or longer. Chronic sinusitis can lead to permanent changes in the mucous membranes that line the sinuses. As a result of these changes, you may become prone to having more sinus infections that may become more difficult to treat.

Recommended Related to Allergies

Fragrance Allergies: A Sensory Assault

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You catch a whiff of a co-worker's new fragrance, and within minutes, you have a whopper of a headache. You pop open that new bottle of dish-washing liquid, and by the time you've washed the pots and pans, your hands and arms are covered in hives. You walk into a friend's home and smell freshly baked pumpkin pie. Only after you start sneezing uncontrollably and feeling dizzy, weak, and sick to your stomach do you learn she hasn't been baking --...

Read the Fragrance Allergies: A Sensory Assault article > >

Complications of sinusitis (such as an infection of the facial bones called osteomyelitis) or meningitis are relatively rare. But when complications occur, they may be life-threatening and often require extensive medical or surgical treatment.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 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.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man blowing nose
    Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
    Allergy capsule
    Breathe easier with these products.
    cat on couch
    Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
    Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
    Which ones affect you?

    blowing nose
    woman with sore throat
    lone star tick
    Woman blowing nose

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    cat lying on shelf
    Allergy prick test
    Man sneezing into tissue
    Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching