A sinus infection, also called sinusitis, is caused by bacteria and often displays symptoms, such as headache, facial pain, severe nasal congestion and runny nose, notes the College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Sinus infections require treatment with antibiotics.
People with sinus infections often have thick nasal discharge that is blood-tinged, white, yellow or green. Another common symptom is facial tenderness or pain in more than one area of the face. This is caused by trapped air and mucus putting pressure on the sinus membranes, states the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Although anyone can get a sinus infection, someone with a weak or compromised immune system and those suffering from allergies are more susceptible. Sinusitis is generally harmless, but if the infection occurs in the sinus cavity closest to the brain, it can result in a brain infection in rare cases. With treatment, a sinus infection will go away in three weeks or less. If a sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, it is considered chronic.
Other symptoms of a sinus infection include coughing, bad breath, fever, pain in the teeth, fatigue, and mucus that drips down the throat, known as postnasal drip. Patients exhibiting these or other symptoms of sinusitis should see their doctor.