Reviewed by Todd T. Kingdom, MD

Sinusitis can either be acute or chronic. Acute sinusitis is often caused by a viral respiratory infection that the body is unable to clear leading to a subsequent bacterial infection. The point at which the common cold ends and a sinus infection begins is not always easy to determine.


Acute Sinusitis Symptoms

  • pressure in the area of the affected sinus;
  • nasal congestion and blockage;
  • decreased sense of smell;
  • postnasal drip;
  • cough;
  • sore throat and thick nasal drainage;
  • ear fullness and
  • worsening symptoms after 5 to 7 days.

Symptoms may vary depending on which sinuses are affected. Some can cause upper jaw and teeth pain; some can make you lose your sense of smell. Usually, though, you can't tell from the symptoms which sinuses are affected.


Chronic Sinusitis Symptoms

Chronic sinusitis, which is often not associated with an infection, may cause recurrent or continuing symptoms that do not respond to treatment. These symptoms are more subtle and generally do not include fever. The symptoms of chronic sinusitis may vary greatly and last for months or years if untreated.



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