What are the Symptoms of a Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, can have a range of symptoms. It occurs when the tissues lining the sinuses become inflamed and infected. Sinusitis can be acute (lasting up to 4 weeks), subacute (lasting 4 to 12 weeks), or chronic (lasting more than 12 weeks). Here are common symptoms associated with a sinus infection:

  1. Facial Pain and Pressure: Pain and pressure in the face, particularly around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead, are common symptoms of sinusitis. This is often described as a deep, throbbing ache.
  2. Nasal Congestion: A blocked or stuffy nose is a hallmark symptom of sinusitis. This congestion may make it difficult to breathe through the nose.
  3. Nasal Discharge: Thick, yellow, green, or cloudy nasal discharge is typical of a sinus infection. The color of the discharge can vary depending on the type of infection.
  4. Postnasal Drip: Excess mucus produced during a sinus infection can drip down the back of the throat, leading to a persistent cough, sore throat, or the need to clear your throat frequently.
  5. Reduced Sense of Smell and Taste: Sinusitis can affect your sense of smell and taste, making food less enjoyable and causing a reduced ability to detect odors.
  6. Cough: A cough that worsens at night is common with sinusitis, especially when postnasal drip irritates the throat.
  7. Fatigue: The combination of pain, congestion, and difficulty sleeping due to sinusitis symptoms can lead to fatigue and a general feeling of illness.
  8. Fever: In some cases, sinusitis may be accompanied by a low-grade fever, especially in cases of bacterial sinus infections.
  9. Bad Breath: The accumulation of mucus and the presence of infection in the sinuses can lead to bad breath (halitosis).
  10. Toothache: The pressure and inflammation from a sinus infection can sometimes cause referred pain, making it feel like you have a toothache, particularly in the upper teeth.

It’s important to note that the severity and duration of symptoms can vary from person to person, and not everyone with a sinus infection will experience all of these symptoms. Additionally, sinusitis can be caused by viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, or it can be triggered by allergies. Treatment for sinusitis depends on its cause and duration. Acute viral sinusitis often resolves on its own with rest and supportive care, while bacterial sinusitis may require antibiotics. If you suspect you have a sinus infection, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.