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If you have a fever as a result of a sinus infection then you will likely know straight away. Sinuses are air-filled spaces behind the bones of the upper face: between the eyes and behind the forehead, nose and cheeks. When the sinuses become inflamed or infected, the mucus thickens and clogs the openings to one or more sinuses. Common symptoms of acute sinusitis include nasal congestion, thick green nasal discharge, fever, headache, tiredness and facial pain. Frontal sinusitis (behind the forehead) can cause pain in the forehead and pain that gets worse when lying on your back. Ethmoid sinusitis (behind the bridge of the nose) can cause pain between the eyes, eyelid swelling, loss of smell, and pain when touching the sides of the nose.
Sphenoid sinusitis (behind the eyes) can cause earaches, neck pain or headache at the top of the head or deep behind the forehead.
Maxillary sinusitis (behind the cheeks) can cause pain in the cheeks, under the eyes, or in the upper teeth and jaw. A sinus infection can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages because it can mimic a common cold. Your doctor will diagnose acute sinusitis based on your symptoms, medical history and a simple office examination. If your doctor is uncertain of your diagnosis, he or she may use other methods to see inside the sinuses. Decongestants — Congestion often triggers sinus infections, and decongestants can open the sinuses and allow them to drain. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) is available without prescription, alone or in combination with other medications in multi-symptom cold and sinus remedies. Oxymetazoline (Afrin, Dristan and others) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine and others) are found in nasal sprays. Antihistamines — These medications help to relieve the symptoms of nasal allergies that lead to inflammation and infections.
Nasal steroids — Anti-inflammatory sprays such as mometasone (Nasonex) and fluticasone (Flonase), both available by prescription, reduce swelling of nasal membranes. Saline nasal sprays — These salt-water sprays are safe to use and can provide some relief by adding moisture to the nasal passages, thinning mucus secretions and helping to flush out any bacteria that may be present. Pain relievers — Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others) or naproxen (Aleve) can be taken sinus pain. Antibiotics — Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic if he or she suspects that a bacterial infection is causing your sinusitis. Not all cases of sinusitis require antibiotic treatment: Talk with your doctor about whether an antibiotic is right for you.
Contact a doctor if you experience facial pain along with a headache and fever, cold symptoms that last longer than seven to 10 days, or persistent green discharge from the nose.
If you have repeated bouts of acute sinusitis, you may have allergies or another treatable cause of sinus congestion. Disclaimer: This content should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a call or visit to a health professional.
The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records. American College of Physicians, PIER: Physicians Information and Education Resource web site.
Jim Young, PhD, biostatistician, Basel Institute for Clinical Epidemiology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.
If these symptoms persist despite appropriate medical therapy, care should be taken to seek an underlying cause.


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You’ve found something in the medicine cabinet that promises to treat your runny nose, your headache and your congestion. Sinus infections often have similar symptoms, but they usually last longer — a week or more, whereas colds often clear up within about a week.
For sinusitis, sinus doctors sometimes prescribe antibiotics ONLY if a bacterial infection is suspected as the root cause. Overmedicating or masking symptoms with the wrong medications can lead to more problems, so get personalized help from the start. In Eastern Europe it is a tradition for horseradish, in particular, pink or red horseradish, to be served on the table during spring festivities. The lining of the sinuses are made up of cells with tiny hairs on their surfaces called cilia. Acute sinusitis lasts three weeks or less and the person should have no more than three episodes per year. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how long they last, look into your ears, nose and throat, and may tap or press on your face to test for tenderness over specific sinuses. Some physicians may insert a nasopharyngoscope (a thin, lighted tube with a camera on the end) into your nose to look for abnormalities. Breathe deeply while standing in a hot shower, or inhale the vapor from a basin filled with hot water while holding a towel over your head. However, several medications may speed recovery and reduce the chance that an infection will become chronic. They are effective and may be less likely to cause the side effects seen with pseudoephedrine. However, some doctors advise against using antihistamines during a sinus infection because they can cause excessive drying and slow the drainage process. If you start taking an antibiotic, complete the entire course so that the infection is completely killed off. Keep in mind that antibiotics can cause side effects, such as allergic reactions, rash and diarrhea. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Josephson, MD, director, New York Nasal and Sinus Center and author, Sinus Relief Now, Perigee Trade, December 2006.
It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances.
Colds and sinus infections (also known as sinusitis) have distinctly different symptoms, and because of that, they require different treatment. Consult a doctor if you have any questions, but generally speaking, the best approach is to treat symptoms. In other cases, oral or nasal steroids are recommended, along with mucus thinners or pain relievers. Our NYC sinus doctors are here to discuss your symptoms and help you come up with a treatment plan that’s right for you. However, a common cold usually will improve in five to seven days, while an untreated sinus infection can last three weeks or longer. X-rays and computed tomography scans (CT) also can provide a look at the sinuses, especially those that are deep within the head. However, using a nasal decongestant for more than three days can cause worse symptoms when you stop the medication.
Over-the-counter antihistamines include diphenhydramine (Benadryl and others), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton and others) and loratadine (Claritin).


In addition, overusing antibiotics eventually leads to the spread of bacteria that no longer can be killed by the most commonly prescribed antibiotics.
It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Some over-the-counter medicines offer benefits for both illnesses, but treatment isn’t identical. If a headache is bothering you, an over-the-counter pain reliever might help, while a nasal decongestant could help relieve a stuffy nose. Sinus infections also are more likely to cause a green nasal discharge, fever and facial pain.
You may have a common complaint that sends many people to a doctor's office: sinus trouble. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site.
Choosing the right (specific) medications for your symptoms from the start can help speed your recovery time. By identifying the allergen (the substance causing the allergic reaction) and avoiding it, you can help prevent sinusitis. What Are Sinuses?What Are Sinuses?They’re air spaces in your skull lined with mucous membranes. Tiny, hair-like structures called cilia (magnified here) move mucus across sinus membranes and toward an exit.
Just a Cold … at FirstSinusitis usually starts with inflammation triggered by a cold, allergy attack, or irritant. How It FeelsMost people have a stuffy nose and pain or pressure in several areas around the face or teeth.
You may also have fatigue, trouble with sense of smell or taste, cough, sore throat, bad breath, headache, pain when you bend forward, and fever.
When It Won't Go AwayInflammation of the sinuses that lasts for more than 3 months is chronic sinusitis.
Anatomy, allergies, polyps, immune system problems, and dental diseases may also be to blame. Nasal DecongestantsThese sprays open swollen nasal passages and allow your sinuses to drain. Treating Allergy-Related SinusitisHave you tried irrigation with saline solution, either with a neti pot or squeeze bottle? Antihistamines could also come in handy, especially if you’re sneezing and have a runny nose. But if you keep feeling worse, your symptoms last and are severe, or if you get a fever, it's time to see a doctor. Will You Need Sinus Surgery?An operation called FESS (functional endoscopic sinus surgery) can bring some relief, if nothing else works.
But start with the simplest solution: Avoid things that irritate your sinuses, and then work with your doctor to see if medicines help.
It’s not likely, but if a sinus infection passes through the bone, it can infect the lining of the brain or the brain itself. It’s also uncommon, but a sinus infection could spread into the eye socket, causing an infection that could cause blindness. Less severe complications include asthma attacks and loss of smell or taste, which are usually temporary.



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