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Sinusitis is usually caused by the common cold, but other viruses, bacteria, fungi and allergies may also cause sinusitis.

Sinuses are four paired cavities (spaces) in the head. Narrow passages connect them. Sinuses make mucus that drains out of the passages in the nose. This drainage helps keep the nose clean and free of bacteria, allergens and other pathogens.

Sinusitis is classified based on how long it has been going on (acute, subacute, chronic or recurrent) and what is causing it (bacteria, virus or fungus).

Viruses, like the ones that cause the common cold, cause most cases of sinusitis.

If one has a runny nose, stuffy nose and facial pain that does not go away after ten days, the ensuing condition may be bacterial sinusitis.

Common symptoms of a sinus infection include:

Sinusitis itself is not contagious. But the viruses and bacteria that can cause it are. Remember to follow good handwashing practices, avoid other people if one is sick and sneeze or cough into the elbow.

Sinusitis — it often goes away on its own and is generally untreated. Very rarely, untreated sinus infections can lead to life-threatening infections. This happens if bacteria or fungi spread to the brain, eyes or nearby bone.


If symptoms of sinusitis don’t improve after 10 days, HCP may prescribe:

Speak to your physician if the symptoms of a sinus infection do not improve or worsen after ten days.



Paddy Kalish OD, JD and B.Arch

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