Sinus Infections (Sinusitis)

HOW DO YOU GET A SINUS INFECTION?

The sinuses are a series of small, connected, hollow cavities in the skull. They are located in the cheekbones, between the eyes, behind the nasal cavity, and in the center of the forehead. Normally, sinuses are able to filter and humidify the air we breathe, but when these tiny passageways become blocked due to allergens or inflammation, the stage is set for a sinus infection, also called sinusitis.

HOW LONG DOES A SINUS INFECTION LAST?

There are two types of sinus infections: acute and chronic. Acute sinusitis can last up to four weeks, while chronic sinusitis lasts more than four weeks and may occur more than four times a year. Chronic sinusitis should be evaluated by a physician, because it can be caused by severe allergies, nasal tumors or even respiratory tract infections. Some people may even have structural problems with their sinuses which can lead to chronic infections.

SYMPTOMS OF SINUSITIS

  • Postnasal drip
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath
  • Stuffy nose

Because most sinus infections are caused by viruses, antibiotics are not effective against them. It is unwise to take antibiotics when they are not needed because this may lead to antibacterial resistance, meaning that germs will become “immune” to certain medications. Your physician can determine if the source of the sinusitis is likely to be viral or bacterial. 

CHRONIC DISEASES

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Cary Medical Group  |  530 New Waverly Place, Suite 200, Cary, NC 27518  |  office: 919.859.5955  |  fax: 919.859.5659
Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.  |  Saturday Sick Clinic (by appointment only): 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at our Raleigh Adult Medicine location. (map)

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