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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Ear Nose and Throat Disorders Acute sinusitis

Acute sinusitis

Acute sinusitis is most commonly caused by common cold. Other common causes of acute sinusitis are bacteria, allergens and fungal infections. Acute sinusitis is the infection of one or more sinuses which include maxillary, ethmoid and frontal sinuses.


In acute sinusitis, the cavities (sinuses) around the nasal passages are inflamed and swollen. This causes interference with drainage which causes mucus to build up. Acute frontal sinusitis is the severe type of acute sinusitis. Frontal sinus surgery is performed to prevent complications when the infection is not responding to the medical treatment

Signs and symptoms of acute sinusitis

Major symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Nasal discharge either yellow or greenish discharge.
  • Decreased or absence of smell sensation.

Minor symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Dental pain
  • Headache.
  • Ear pain.

Presence of 2 or more major symptoms or one major and 2 minor signs and symptoms are diagnostic of acute sinusitis.


  • Medical history
  • X-ray of paranasal sinuses
  • Sinus endoscopy

  • CT scan of paranasal sinuses



The main aim of the treatment is to eliminate the infection and to improve the drainage of the sinus.

Decongestants like phenylephrine are used. These medications cause constriction of the blood vessels in the nasal passages and the sinuses and helps in reduction of inflammation. Decongestants are better avoided if you have high blood pressure and thyroid problems. They should not be used for long time as they cause dependence.

Antibiotics: Antibiotics are usually given for around 5-7 days. The antibiotics commonly given are amoxicillin, doxycycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethaxazole combination.

Pain relievers like paracetamol, ibuprofen are given to relieve the pain.

Steroid sprays are sued some times to decrease the inflammation.

Saline nasal sprays can be used for nasal blockage.

Antifungal medications are given if the acute sinusitis is caused by a fungal infection.

Immunotherapy is usually given in the sinusitis caused by allergy. Allergic shots are given to reduce the body’s reaction to the allergens.

Steaming of the sinus cavity help to reduce the pain and promote the drainage.