What Is a Sinusitis Infection?


Quick Answer

A sinus infection, or sinusitis, refers to inflamed or swollen tissue that lines the sinuses, explains WebMD. An infection in the sinuses typically occur when fluid or germs, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, obstruct the sinuses and impede proper flow of air.

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Acute sinusitis involves the sudden occurrence of symptoms similar to a cold, including a runny nose and facial pain that persists for 10 days or more, states WebMD. Individuals may experience acute sinusitis for up to four weeks. Subacute sinusitis usually lasts four to eight weeks, whereas recurrent sinusitis affects most sufferers several times a year. Those with a chronic sinusitis may suffer symptoms of an inflamed sinus for up to eight or more weeks.

The common cold, nasal polyps and allergic rhinitis are common conditions that lead to sinus blockage, says WebMD. A person with an immune deficiency, or someone who takes immune system-suppressing medicines is at a higher risk of contracting an infection and developing sinusitis. Children with allergies are also likely to develop sinusitis. Smoking is a major contributor to sinusitis in adults.

A cough, nasal secretion, nasal stuffiness, facial pain and losing the sense of smell are the main symptoms of acute sinusitis, notes WebMD. A person with sinusitis may also experience fever, fatigue, dental pain or bad breath.

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