Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinus cavities. The sinus cavities are air-filled spaces in the skull. It is usually associated with infection.
Sinusitis is called acute if it lasts for less than 4 weeks, subacute if it lasts 4-12 weeks, and chronic if symptoms last for more than 3 months. You may have recurrent sinusitis if you have repeated bouts of acute sinusitis.
Infectious sinusitis is caused by a bacterial, viral, or (rarely) fungal infection of fluid in the sinus cavities.
Factors that may increase your chance of sinusitis include:
Sinusitis may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Sinusitis is diagnosed based on its symptoms and tenderness of the sinuses when pressed.
Tests may include:
You have may acute sinusitis when the following occurs:
Surgery is a last resort for people with very troublesome, serious chronic sinusitis. It includes:
To help reduce your chance of sinusitis:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Allergy Asthma Information Association
Calgary Allergy Network
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http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T902952/Acute-sinusitis-in-adults. Updated August 4, 2014. Accessed September 9, 2016.
Acute sinusitis in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T902949/Acute-sinusitis-in-children-and-adolescents. Updated October 31, 2014. Accessed September 9, 2016.
Allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, and rhinosinusitis.
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at:
http://www.entnet.org/content/allergic-rhinitis-sinusitis-and-rhinosinusitis. Accessed September 29, 2014.
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Chronic rhinosinusitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115673/Chronic-rhinosinusitis. Updated July 25, 2016. Accessed September 9, 2016.
Okuyemi KS, Tsue TT. Radiologic imaging in the management of sinusitis.
Am Fam Physician. 2002;66(10):1882-1886.
Sinusitis (sinus infection). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. Available at:
http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/sinusitis/Pages/index.aspx. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Stewart AE, Vaughan WC. Balloon sinuplasty versus surgical management of chronic rhinosinusitis.
Curr Allergy Asthma Rep.
1/10/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com: Williamson IG, Rumsby K, Benge S, et al. Antibiotics and topical nasal steroid for treatment of acute maxillary sinusitis: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2007;298(21):2487-2496.
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com: Zalmanovici A, Yaphe J. Intranasal steroids for acute sinusitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(4):CD005149.
Last reviewed September 2016 by David Horn, MD, FACP
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