Sinusitis (acute, chronic): see causes, symptoms, treatment

The cold is usually accompanied by an increase in the number of infections, respiratory diseases and allergies. The feeling of a runny nose, constant sneezing and pain in the body are signs that the body is weak.

Some people are more resistant to viruses and bacteria – it may be due to the correct diet, adequate lifestyle habits or because the immune system is working properly. But when the symptoms appear, the malaise is usually intense as well.

However, it is not enough that the flu , allergy or cold show improvement for everything to return to normal, as it is usually after these episodes that sinusitis manifests itself, causing the conditions to be even confused.

Do you know that very common situation in doctor’s offices, in which the patient reports having had the flu for more than 20 days? In fact, it is very likely that the condition is sinusitis and that the flu or cold has already been cured.


What is Sinusitis?

Currently, the most appropriate clinical term is rhinosinusitis, characterized by inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the sinuses , which are bony spaces around the nose, cheeks and eyes.

Inflammation can have different causes – allergic, infectious or immunological -, caused by a swelling that restricts the passage of nasal mucus – a fluid naturally produced in the region -, facilitating and promoting the proliferation of infectious agents.

In general, it is due to colds, flu, allergies and low immunity, which can cause symptoms such as headache , runny nose and swollen face.

The vast majority of sinus infections are due to the Influenza virus – responsible for the flu -, but infections by bacteria or fungi can also occur.

Despite being considerably frequent, inflammation can compromise routine and activities, so that, even without complications, the discomfort and malaise are usually great.

When the condition lasts for up to 4 weeks, sinusitis is acute. External factors, such as pollution, cigarettes and allergenic agents can favor the manifestation of inflammation, which makes the disease recurrent in many patients. If the condition persists for more than 4 continuous weeks, it is characterized as chronic sinusitis.

Most patients who have a cold or flu, after recovering, present some alteration and accumulation of secretion in the sinuses. However, many conditions do not progress to sinusitis, as the body can eliminate mucus naturally.

But even when the inflammation manifests, the condition is, in general, quite simple and tends to resolve with the use of medications that facilitate the elimination of secretions. When the symptoms worsen or affect the patient more intensely, it is necessary to check if there is no bacterial infection, which may need antibiotics .

The condition is listed on ICD-10 under the codes J01- Acute sinusitis and J32 – Chronic sinusitis .

What are paranasal sinuses?

Paranasal sinuses, also called nasal sinuses or sinuses, are bilateral cavities located on the face of the skull – that is, if we draw a line right in the middle of our face, passing vertically through the nose, the cavities are symmetrical, observed in both sides – and are divided into 4:

  • Frontal sinus : located above the eyes;
  • Ethmoid sinus : they are small and numerous cavities (like holes) in the bone between the eye and the nose;
  • Sphenoid sinus : located inside the skull, at the height of the nose;
  • Maxillary sinus : located below the eyes, next to the nose.

It is important to differentiate the nasal cavity from the paranasal cavities. While the first is larger and extends from the nostril to the pharynx (basically understood as the nose), the paranasals are small tunnels close to the nose.

The breasts are occupied by air (pneumatic cavities) and have a lining full of blood vessels and cilia, which are quite similar to those we have in the eyes, but in microscopic sizes. Among the functions of the nasal cavities are:

  • Humidification and heating of breathed air;
  • Reduction of the skull weight;
  • Increased voice resonance;
  • Balance of intracranial pressures when there are variations in atmospheric pressure (dives, plane trips or high altitude climbs);
  • Impact absorption in cases of trauma (hollow materials absorb more impact than solid materials).

In addition, in the paranasal lining there is a constant production of mucus or secretion, which is responsible for the retention of foreign particles to the bodies – such as dust or dirt.

The cilia play an important role in directing these secretions out of the cavities, leading them to the throat to be eliminated through the airways.

Allergy or influenza, for example, can cause edema (swelling) of the nasal mucosa and increased secretions, which favors the obstruction of the sinuses drainage leading to congestion of the cavity, which can progress to sinusitis.

Types of sinusitis

One of the ways to classify sinusitis is according to the site of involvement, which can cause pain in different regions, often even being confused with other types of pain.

You can separate it into:

  • Maxillary sinusitis : the inflammation is in the mucous membranes near the cheekbones;
  • Ethmoidal sinusitis : inflammation occurs between the eyeball and the nose;
  • Frontal sinusitis : the inflammation mainly affects the forehead region, above the eyes;
  • Sphenoid sinusitis : inflammation can cause pain on the side of the head or also at the height of the canine tooth, which is often mistaken for toothache.

It is worth remembering that this classification only aims to situate the pain, but they are not unique or exclusive. In other words, it is possible to have maxillary and frontal sinusitis at the same time, which is quite common.

According to the guidelines for the medical diagnosis of sinusitis, the condition can be classified according to the persistence of symptoms, divided into acute, subacute, chronic recurrent, acute and complicated chronic. Know a little more about each one:


In the acute type, symptoms last up to 4 weeks and, in general, the response to treatment is usually good. But if symptoms are not alleviated or worsen between 5 and 10 days of treatment, bacterial sinusitis should be considered.

Usually the acute condition is triggered by allergies, flu or infections.


Symptoms last between 4 and 12 weeks and are a continuation of acute sinusitis. In other words, it is not yet classified as chronic, but it persists for some more time.

In general, it occurs when the condition is not diagnosed or the body does not respond well to the treatment of acute sinusitis.

The tendency is for the symptoms to be milder than in the first 4 weeks.


In the recurrent type, 3 or more episodes of acute sinusitis occur in 1 year. In general, each episode has symptoms between 7 and 12 days, followed by patient improvement.

To be considered a recurrent condition, the patient needs to show complete improvement of the episode and another manifestation of the symptoms, characterizing it as a new sinusitis.


When the signs of sinusitis remain for more than 12 weeks, the condition is characterized as chronic. In general, the symptoms are milder than in the acute type.

Chronic sinusitis presents greater risks to the patient, as the longer the inflammations are present in the body, the greater the health compromise, allowing complications and irreversible changes.

Acute chronic

The condition lasts for more than 12 weeks, characterizing chronic sinusitis, but the patient worsens in specific symptoms or in the general condition.


Sinusitis can cause complications in the inflammatory condition. In addition to the paranasal cavities, the inflammation can extend to other regions and cause intracranial, orbital or systemic damage (usually involving meningitis, brain abscesses and periorbital abscesses).

What are the causes of sinusitis?

It is estimated that 90% of cases are due to colds and flu, but there are a number of factors that can trigger sinusitis. In general, they are associated with immunity conditions and environmental factors. The most common are:


When an agent comes into contact with the organism sensitive to it, there is an exaggerated response of immunity. Among the signs that can occur are the production of mucus and edema, which are swellings of specific regions.

There are, then, greater chances of congesting the nasal canal responsible for the elimination of mucus. Consequently, the fluid accumulates in the bone cavity and inflammation is favored, developing sinusitis.

Read more: Edema: what it is, types and treatments

Nasal polyps

Polyps are small formations that occur inside the nose and, when they grow and obstruct the nasal canal, they are associated with chronic sinusitis.

It is worth remembering that polyps are not tumors and are not related to cancer .

Deviation of the nasal septum

Deviation of the nasal septum can cause varying degrees of obstruction of the canals. It is not always necessary to resort to surgery, as the deviation often does not impact the patient’s health.

But if the change favors the accumulation of secretion in the sinuses, chronic sinusitis can manifest.

Nasal irritation

Dust and strong smells, such as cleaning products or chemicals, can irritate the nasal mucous membranes and favor sinusitis.

Thermal shock

Sudden and sudden changes in temperature can trigger sinusitis.

The respiratory tract is one of the first places in the body to suffer from climatic instability, as nasal cilia, which act as filters and prevent the entry of various infectious agents in the body, are difficult to move.

As they act less effectively, more dust, viruses, bacteria and dirt in general pass through the nose and reach the internal part of the body, favoring inflammation and infections.

Allergic rhinitis

The condition is characterized by an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose that may present in isolation and never develop into sinusitis.

But according to the guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of sinusitis, the association of conditions is quite common, because there are few cases in which sinusitis does not present rhinitis either.

In this case, the mechanism is the same as for allergies, in which there is an exaggerated response by the body to agents that come into contact with the body. But as there are persistent allergic symptoms, sinusitis can also be frequent.

Gastroesophageal reflux

It may seem difficult to establish a connection between the stomach and sinusitis, but reflux is one of the possible triggering factors.

When food, along with gastric juice returns to the height of the paranasal sinuses, there may be obstructions, irritations and inflammation of the mucous membranes.


Respiratory infections are one of the most frequent causes of sinusitis. Generally, the patient complains of pain in the region of the eyes and heavy head, even though he has already improved from the flu or cold.

Infections can be viral, bacterial or, more rarely, fungal.

Among the most frequent agents are:

  • Viruses : rhinoviruses, viruses of the influenza or parainfluenza group (mainly responsible for colds and flu);
  • Bacteria : Streptococcus pneumoniae (responsible for pneumonia), Haemophilus influenzae (responsible for meningitis and epiglottitis), and Moraxella catarrhalis (responsible for otitis media and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease);
  • Fungi : Aspergillus (responsible for pulmonary aspergillosis).


There are several types of tumor that can affect the nasal region, which can be classified according to the tissue of origin and the malignant or benign condition.

Naso-sinus tumors, as they are called, can be an exaggerated manifestation of cells in the nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses.

If there is no tendency for them to invade other tissues and spread, the tumor is benign. But if the cells have the possibility of spreading through the blood or lymphatic stream, the tumor is malignant.

Although the conditions affect patients quite differently, both situations can cause nasal obstructions and favor sinusitis and other diseases, such as rhinitis.

Other causes

There are also other, less frequent situations, capable of triggering sinusitis, such as trauma to the face or changes in the nasal cavity, which occur when a facial bone is fractured or surgically altered.

As the nasal anatomy is modified, secretions are not properly eliminated and accumulate in the sinuses.

Diseases and drugs that weaken immunity can favor nasal changes, leading to infection by external agents.

In addition, smoking or passive smokers are more likely as well.

Sinusitis by virus or bacteria?

In general, if the symptoms do not worsen in the initial days and persist for up to 10 days, it is more likely that the infection is caused by a virus.

But if there is no improvement or symptoms worsen, especially after the tenth day, there is a greater chance of infection being bacterial.

Knowing the infectious origin is important for the doctor to conduct the best treatment. This is because viral sinusitis does not require the use of antibiotics, as they are effective drugs to combat these agents.

It is generally more recommended to invest in nose sprays, pain relievers and nasal cleansing. But if the cause is bacterial, in addition to resorting to the methods used in viral sinusitis, it is usually necessary to use antibiotics.

What is the difference between sinusitis and rhinitis?

The symptoms between sinusitis and rhinitis are quite similar and, therefore, the conditions are often confused. But, basically rhinitis is the inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, while sinusitis is the inflammation of the mucous membranes of the paranasal sinuses.

People with rhinitis can develop sinusitis, although it is not such a common condition. On the contrary, most patients with sinusitis have rhinitis as well.

The condition is so recurrent that doctors and specialists have adopted the term rhinosinusitis to define sinusitis.

Although relatively similar symptoms appear, there is a good difference between the two: rhinitis is caused by a viral infection or allergic response, and attacks only the region of the nose (the nasal mucous membranes). The main symptoms are runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing and stuffy nose.

While sinusitis can be caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi, in addition to allergenic agents and other factors (anatomical, for example), it affects the paranasal sinuses, compromising the excretion of secretions.

Risk factors

In general, all people are susceptible to sinusitis, but those who have constant allergies, low immunity or nasal changes are more likely.

Patients who already have a respiratory illness or condition, such as asthma , bronchitis , tonsillitis , pharyngitis and rhinitis, tend to be more sensitive to inflammation.

But it must be remembered that there is often an association of factors that implies the disease – such as exposure to pollution, cigarettes, dust or allergens with low immunity.

People who suffer with a certain frequency of acute sinusitis and do not perform the treatment correctly represent a risk group for the chronic type, as the condition can cause permanent nasal changes.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

The patient may have symptoms very similar to those of the flu or even confuse the condition with an insistent headache.

Although pressure in the eye region, a feeling of heavy head and obstruction of breathing are the signs most associated with sinusitis, they can also occur:

  • Pressure in the ears – caused by the accumulation of secretions in the face region;
  • Alteration of smell and taste;
  • Tiredness – occurs mainly due to the weakness of the organism or drop in immunity;
  • Reduction or lack of appetite;
  • Bad breath (halitosis) – usually caused by bacterial infections or chronic sinusitis;
  • Nausea;
  • Catarrh (yellow-green) in the throat, especially at bedtime.

In addition, some symptoms are quite characteristic and significant during sinusitis. Among them are:


In general, one of the first symptoms that manifest in sinusitis is coughing . Especially in childhood, it tends to be an essential signal for the correct diagnosis.

Many patients perceive a worsening of the cough at night, because the secretions accumulate in the nasal region and, when the patient lies down, it is easier for them to flow into the pharynx.

The cough appears as a reaction to the mucosal irritation in order to eliminate the phlegm.

In addition, patients suffering from sinusitis due to gastric dysfunctions, such as reflux, may experience coughing because the acidic juice from the stomach irritates the mucous membranes. When lying down, it is easier for this acid to reflux and irritate the throat.


In general, pressure occurs in the head region, which can be in specific or more generalized parts (depending mainly on the location of the inflammation). Usually, patients experience a worsening when they lower or bend their necks.

Due to the accumulation of secretions in the paranasal sinuses, pain may occur in the eyes, ears and neck.

Toothache or in the dental arch

In fact, the painful sensation is due to the inflammation of the paranasal sinuses near the jaw. That is, it is a headache that is confused with the dental region.

In some cases, the patient may take time to notice other symptoms and attribute the discomfort to gum inflammation, for example.

Nasal discharge

The patient may experience breathing difficulties due to nasal block or obstruction. Even so, it is possible that the nose is runny or with the presence of thick secretions (similar to phlegm).

In general, nasal secretions and obstructions make the patient need to breathe through the mouth, causing dryness of the throat and favoring coughs.


In general, when there is only nasal obstruction or congestion, fever does not manifest, but if there is an infection of the tissues, temperature changes can manifest. Commonly they persist for a short time and are not very high, being in the range of 38 degrees.

How do I know if I have the flu or sinusitis?

Symptoms of sinusitis are very similar to those of influenza and several other infectious conditions. Therefore, the ideal is to pay attention to whether the condition improves or worsens over time. Headache that does not relieve with flu, runny nose or stuffy nose and pain in the face are signs that can indicate sinusitis.

In addition, it is worth remembering that it is common after an episode of flu or cold, so it is not always easy to know when one has ended and the other has started.

In such cases, a medical consultation is essential, so that the condition is correctly identified. In general, only a medical history and clinical examination are sufficient, but sometimes additional tests may be ordered.

How is the diagnosis made?

The most qualified professional to diagnose and treat sinusitis is the general practitioner and the otorhinolaryngologist .

Usually, the doctor will make a survey of the patient’s clinical condition, physically assessing it by examining the throat, ears and nasal tissues, as well as listening to the breath to check for the presence of phlegm, obstructions or difficulties in breathing in or out.

In general, the procedure is restricted to clinical examination because cases of sinusitis tend to be easily identified, avoiding referring the patient to facial radiological examinations, which leads to exposure, which is usually unnecessary, to radiation.

However, persistent cases of the disease, complications or if the doctor finds the need for a more in-depth diagnosis, computed tomography, nasal endoscopy and X-ray examinations can be performed .

Blood tests may be ordered in cases where fungal or bacterial sinusitis is suspected, to confirm the diagnosis.

Patients who have weakened immune conditions or antecedent illnesses can be referred to tests such as a complete blood count to assess the general condition of the organism, as well as the need to treat other weaknesses.

Exams: which ones are done?

Additional diagnostic tests are usually requested when there are complications, severely aggravated conditions, poor response to treatment or in special cases, such as patients with immunological impairment.

Among the most frequent exams are:

Nasal endoscopy

The test is painless, but it can cause some mild discomfort and specific care is not needed before the test.

Usually, the exam is part of the sinusitis diagnosis routine, in which a flexible rod (endoscope) with a camera or light is inserted at the tip, allowing the doctor to assess the mucosa and the deeper nasal cavities.

Imaging exams

Computed tomography (CT) scans are more indicated in cases of chronic or recurrent sinusitis, and when there are health complications. The procedure helps the professional to assess the condition of the sinuses and nasal area and to identify a deep inflammation or physical obstruction.

X-ray examinations are considered debatable according to guidelines for the diagnosis of sinusitis.

They can be requested in acute cases, but expose patients to radiation in a way that is not always necessary, especially since computed tomography tends to present more accurate images for the evaluation of sinusitis. For this reason, other imaging exams are prioritized.

Nasal cultures

In cases where inflammation does not respond to treatment, analyzing nasal tissues can help define the cause, such as sinusitis caused by bacteria or fungi.

The exam is painless, as samples of nasal secretions are collected and sent to the laboratory for clinical tests.

Allergy tests

Usually, the exam is requested when sinusitis manifests recurrent symptoms, but there is no presence of infectious agents, such as viruses or bacteria.

Especially in cases of persistent allergy or rhinitis, the test can help to detect the triggering agent, even assisting in the treatment.

The most common types of allergy research are through blood collection and skin testing.

When the patient has any suspicion of the allergenic agent, a specific blood test may be requested, in which the reactive antibodies for the given substance are evaluated.

There is also the skin test, which checks the sensitivity to a greater number of substances. In summary, they are of several elements, generally causing allergies.

Is there a cure?

-Yeah . If the treatment is properly performed, the condition is usually reversed without complications.

Cases of acute sinusitis tend to be cured in a few days, sometimes spontaneously, as long as the body is healthy and performing its immune functions correctly.

Chronic sinusitis can be treated and cured as long as the primary cause can be resolved (a nasal deviation, for example).

Which treatment is good and effective for sinusitis?

For the treatment of sinusitis, it is necessary to facilitate the drainage of the sinuses and cure the infection, usually with the use of antiallergics, corticosteroids and antibiotics, depending on each case.

Correct and well-conducted treatment is essential so that the condition does not worsen, persist or become chronic.

Medications can also be added to reduce fevers, pain, unblock the nostrils and facilitate expectoration.

It is worth remembering that, especially in the chronic type, the alleviation of symptoms is a secondary treatment, aiming to reduce the patient’s discomfort.

Measures that facilitate recovery and can be associated with medications to accelerate nasal clearance are:

Nasal lavage

The use of saline water or saline helps to dissolve nasal secretions and decongest the sinuses. To use them, the patient can inhale the solutions (through vaporization) or drip them directly on the nose.

Serums can be found in pharmacies, ready to use, and saline can be prepared by mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of salt with 250mL of water.

Another option is to keep the water well heated and inhale the steam during the bath.

Nasal spray or decongestants

You probably know someone who uses nasal decongestants frequently. The medication helps to relieve a stuffy nose, facilitating breathing in various conditions (flu, colds, allergies and sinusitis, for example).

In general, sprays or decongestants use substances such as naphazoline, oxymetazoline, phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine, which basically act by decreasing the nasal blood vessels and reducing the volume of the mucosa, which facilitates the passage of air.

To use sprays or decongestants, it is recommended to thoroughly wash your hands, blow your nose and drip or sneeze the product (as recommended by a doctor).

The doctor may recommend that you tilt your head back or vacuum the product, if possible, as this will make the liquid penetrate better and unclog the nostrils more quickly.

During the treatment of sinusitis, sprays can greatly relieve nasal discomfort, but they should be used with caution and for a limited time, as they can cause the so-called rebound effect or even a drug addiction.

Oral or nasal corticosteroids

Corticosteroids can facilitate the reduction of inflammation, especially in allergic sinusitis and associated with rhinitis. In this case, there are oral or spray options, which are sprayed directly into the nostrils.

Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory

It is estimated that up to 70% of bacterial sinus infections are improved without the use of antibiotics, as long as the body is in adequate immunological conditions. This is because, in general, the picture is light.

It is not uncommon for antibiotics to be prescribed even when there is no confirmation of infection by bacteria.

There are two problems in this practice: if the sinusitis is caused by viruses, for example, the medication will not have a positive effect on the patient’s condition, resulting in unnecessary expenses and even side effects.

The second and main problem is that the indiscriminate use of antibiotics favors the adaptation and resistance of the bacteria, making the treatments less and less effective.

However, in cases where bactericidal infection is found, the use of antibiotics is essential and must be conducted strictly as prescribed by the doctor.

Anti-inflammatory drugs can be prescribed, in order to alleviate symptoms and facilitate the recovery process.


The surgeries are used when the obstructions are caused by some alteration of the anatomy and can be corrected or removed, for example in the septic deviation.

The doctor will indicate the most appropriate type of procedure according to each case. Current options include:

Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)

The method called FESS refers to the Functional Esdoscopic Sinus Surgery , which is an endoscopic sinus surgery. Medical instruments such as endoscopes, balloons and cameras can be used to facilitate the procedure.

The procedure performs the correction and modification of the anatomical structures of the nose and paranasal sinuses, favoring the passage of air and the elimination of secretions. The patient receives general anesthesia and, on average, the procedure lasts between 2 and 3 hours.

An endoscope is inserted into the nose so that the condition of the region is well analyzed. After correctly locating the obstruction point, very thin instruments are inserted into the nasal canal and remove the necessary tissues.

Luc Caldwell Surgery

The technique can be used to remove some content (such as fungi clusters) from the paranasal sinuses and provide adequate drainage from the region. The procedure removes the mucosa from the maxillary sinus under general anesthesia.

The incision is made through the jaw, in the vicinity of the canine tooth, through the inner part of the mouth. Despite being widely used to treat sinus changes, surgery has been gradually replaced by procedures that use endoscopy techniques, due to better precision.


For sinus diseases (including sinusitis), sinuplasty is one of the most used and recommended methods of surgical treatment.

While traditional endoscopic surgeries involve the removal of mucous membranes and bony parts of the nose, sinuplasty performs the dilation of the canal. Applying high pressures inside the nose, the technique causes micro bone fractures, causing the nasal structure to reorganize and remodel.

Medicines: what are the names of the remedies for sinusitis?

According to the guidelines for the treatment of sinusitis, mild acute conditions can, in general, be treated with amoxicillin drugs for 7 or 10 days. There is also an indication of the use of sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim , but attention must be paid to the possibility that the drug may cause bacterial resistance.

Doclaxin ( amoxicillin + clavulanic acid ) can also be prescribed for 7 to 14 days by an cephalosporin antibiotic , such as cefaclor , cefprozil, axetilcefuroxime or cefpodoxime-proxetil.

Other options, still according to the guidelines, include:

  • Azithromycin ;
  • Clarithromycin ;
  • Levofloxacin ;
  • Gatifloxacino;
  • Moxifloxacino.

Nasal sprays with anti-inflammatory action

Nasal sprays help to prevent and treat inflammation. Examples include:

  • Fluticasona;
  • Budesonida;
  • Mometasona;
  • Beclometasona.

Pills with anti-inflammatory and analgesic action

Among the corticosteroids that can be administered are:

  • Budesonida;
  • Mometasona;
  • Fluticasona.


Some antihistamine medications may be indicated, when sinusitis is of allergic origin. Between them:

  • Cetirizine ;
  • Levocetirizina;
  • Loratadina.

Injection for sinusitis

Corticosteroids are available in an injectable form, which can be indicated for the treatment of sinusitis and symptom relief. Like other corticosteroids, injections act to relieve crises, but they should not be used indiscriminately and are not a substitute for complete treatment, with routine care.

Among the options are Duoflan and Bedimza .


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained on this site is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

What are the remedies for chronic sinusitis?

Among the options for treating chronic sinusitis, according to the Otorhinolaryngology Foundation, are: 

  • Amoxicillin with potassium clavulanate;
  • Cefuroxime axetil;
  • Cefprozil Clindamicina.

Home remedies: what is good for sinusitis?

If you have already been to the doctor and are undergoing the indicated treatment, there are still some homemade measures that can facilitate and improve the recovery from sinusitis.

These are simple measures that you can take at home and will reduce the symptoms, bringing more well-being during the treatment days. Remember that the options must be complementary to the doctor’s instructions. Between them:

Expectorant with eucalyptus

Eucalyptus helps in expectoration and can be a good option to facilitate the cleaning of the paranasal sinuses. To do this, just mix water, salt and a little eucalyptus, bring it to a boil and inhale the mixture’s steam.

Chamomile tea

Teas are part of the flu and cold care routine, especially chamomile, as it has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Therefore, the drink can be combined with the treatment of sinusitis, reducing congestion, irritation of the throat, facilitating the expectoration and cleaning of the nasal mucous membranes.


Inhalation can be done even in the bath, with the steam coming out of the hot water in the shower. But in addition, the patient can intensify the inhalations, performing more times a day.

One option is to add products with anti-inflammatory properties to the water, such as onions or oregano oil. Just add a small amount of food to the water and, when boiling, inhale.

Hot compresses

Warm or warm compresses on the nose, forehead and eyes can alleviate pain and facilitate the elimination of secretions. In general, just heat the water (taking care of the temperature), moisten a cotton or towel, and apply the compress to the facial region.

Natural juices

In addition to teas, fortified juices are options to increase food and strengthen the immune system. It is worth remembering that recipes should prioritize natural and nutrient-rich foods, such as turmeric, carrots, cabbage, lemon, orange and beets, for example.

Just choose the food, sanitize it correctly and beat the blender with water. For example:

  • 150mL of water;
  • Juice of 2 oranges;
  • 1 grated carrot;
  • 1 kale or saffron leaf;
  • Honey if you need to sweeten it.

Living together: how to relieve symptoms?

The treatment of sinusitis is usually accompanied by a decrease in symptoms, until the patient is completely recovered.

Some simple measures can help in the treatment, reducing the symptoms and bringing more comfort in the recovery, among them:

Food care

Food is an essential factor in all circumstances of the body, but especially when there is some immunological weakness.

During the recovery process, it is recommended to prioritize natural foods, rich in nutrients and that help to strengthen organic defenses.

In this case, vegetable soups, fortifying juices and fruits are good options to compose a light and enriched menu.

In addition, people who have intolerances or food allergies should reinforce their dietary care, as neglect of restrictions may favor a decrease in immunity or allergic responses in the body.

Some foods that the patient should reduce consumption include:

  • Sugar : avoid consuming sweet and sugar-rich foods, as this can favor infections.
  • Refined dairy and flours : they can stimulate mucus production and hinder sputum, as well as refined flours and grains.
  • Salt : excess salt can dehydrate the body, favor fluid retention and hinder sputum.


The measure is simple – a few days of rest – but it can be instrumental in improving symptoms and speeding up the recovery process. When resting, the body reduces physical wear and tear due to effort and can focus attention on recovery.

In addition, the patient may experience tiredness , fatigue and difficulty breathing, which are alleviated when the organism is resting.

Drink fluids

It is important to drink plenty of fluids, because in addition to being essential for the balance of the organism, water hydrates the mucous membranes and facilitates the elimination of mucus.

In addition to water, teas are options to complement hydration, especially those that have anti-inflammatory properties, such as chamomile, ginger and mint.

Read more: Ginger tea: what it is for, benefits and how to make it

Avoid allergenic agents

Even for non-allergic patients, it is recommended to avoid agents that can trigger allergies or aggravate the obstruction, such as dust, pollen, animal hair, cigarettes and pollution.

Although it is difficult to stay away from external components, especially during the first few days, it is recommended to keep it in a clean and disinfected environment.

At home, avoid using strong smelling cleansers, air fresheners and personal perfumes.

Take care of other pathologies

Health care in general is essential, for example, patients with chronic diseases or immunocompromised patients may be more susceptible to infections, which is a triggering factor for sinusitis.

In such cases, the main measure to assist in the recovery of sinusitis is to treat and control the primary condition, which will result in immune improvement and, consequently, will act as a measure of new crises or treatment optimization.

Avoid air conditioning

Even if the device itself does not cause the flu, colds or sinusitis, they can be the indirect cause of these problems.

Generally, sudden changes in temperature can favor changes in immunity or cold air can irritate the mucous membranes of the nostril, causing the symptoms to worsen.

In addition, poorly sanitized equipment can spread infectious agents and favor the contamination of people who share the environment.


The prognosis of acute sinusitis is, in general, very good, with the majority of patients showing complete improvement in up to 2 weeks, often using medications only to relieve symptoms.

However, poorly performed treatments or when there is no complete cure of the patient in acute cases, can lead to permanent nasal damage and cause chronic sinusitis.

The prognosis of the chronic type depends on the triggering factor. In general, when the problem or change is treated, sinusitis resolves without major problems.


In general, the evolution of the condition is good and there are few cases involving complications, but when they do occur, they are usually associated with severe immune weakness, aggressiveness of the infectious agent or association of environmental factors.

In acute sinusitis, symptoms must be observed after 72 hours of antibiotic use, as swelling or swelling in the eyes ( periorbital abscess ), eyelid lesions, visual changes and vision problems, signs of toxemia (toxin poisoning) ) or meningeal irritation (signs of the body that there are changes, as in cases of meningitis, hemorrhages and syphilis , for example).

If the symptoms of fever or allergic reaction are very severe or frequent, in general, an immunological investigation may be necessary. Chronic illnesses or HIV infection can affect the body’s defense responses.

If there are skin changes and bone pain, it may be indicative of widespread infections, such as osteomyelitis . Some olfactory changes may be due to nasal obstruction, but inflammation of the olfactory nerve may occur, resulting in temporary or permanent loss of meaning.

Vision changes occur when the infection affects the eyes and can partially or completely affect vision. In addition, the condition can permanently compromise the eyes and result in blindness.

If there is a worsening of the inflammation, which spreads to other regions of the body, brain abscesses, meningitis , generalized infection, cavernous thrombosis (blockage in the vein that drains blood from the brain) can occur and, although rare, cause death.

How to prevent sinusitis?

Sinusitis is a condition that can be quite debilitating, depending on the patient and the intensity I develop.

Some people may be predisposed to inflammation and infections, favoring the disease. But even those who have good immunological conditions can adopt some preventive measures, such as:

Avoid triggers

The first way to prevent sinusitis is to avoid triggering factors. Therefore, people who are allergic or sensitive to substances should avoid contact with allergens. Since it is not possible to be exempt from everything (for example, pollution or dust), it is necessary to reduce contact with the agent as much as possible.

Therefore, it is important to keep the rooms well ventilated, with clean air circulation. Places that use air conditioning must take care to maintain the correct hygiene of the equipment.

Treat colds and flu

With the arrival of the cold, the manifestation of respiratory diseases is generally greater. Although it is quite common in the coldest periods, the conditions should not be ignored, as most sinus infections result from a cold or flu.

Sometimes, a few simple cares are enough to recover the organism, such as inhalations and a good diet.

Strengthen immunity

Care also includes those precious rules for good health: maintaining adequate food, drinking about 2 liters of water a day and, if possible, cleaning the nose with saline.

Paying attention to immunity helps to prevent various diseases or situations, so it is ideal to see a doctor regularly and assess how your health is doing. In addition, properly carrying out treatments for chronic diseases prevents the body from being compromised.

Take care of your health as a whole

People with food allergies can have a weakened immune system when ingesting the restricted substance. In addition, one of the effects of ingestion may be the allergic reaction, favoring sinusitis. So it is essential to keep the diet up to date.

People who have the flu or a cold can use inhalations to facilitate recovery and reduce the risk of paranasal obstruction.

Common questions

Does air conditioning cause sinusitis?

Air conditioning, in itself, does not cause sinusitis. Generally, two conditions can occur: the first is that the sudden or constant temperature change favors the drop of immunity and, therefore, the flu and colds are more easily installed. So sinusitis is a result.

A second possibility is that devices that are not properly sanitized can promote the proliferation of bacteria and fungi. As the device spreads air indoors, the entire place is infested.

Does inhalation cure sinusitis?

Inhalation is part of the treatment of sinusitis and can greatly assist in reducing symptoms. In some cases, inhalation alone may be sufficient to relieve the episode, without the need for other treatments.

However, intense or persistent conditions may need medication or other interventions.

How to improve sinusitis quickly?

Some measures can be adopted and help immediately with sinusitis. Although the symptoms are not eliminated, some changes in the routine can prevent the condition from worsening.

Humidifying the air, keeping rooms well ventilated, strengthening immunity and avoiding allergens are simple measures that make a big difference during symptom recovery.

Is it possible to treat sinusitis or is it forever?

Yes. Regardless of the cause – allergic or bacterial -, sinusitis can be treated as long as it is properly diagnosed.

The patient must consult a doctor and start treatment as soon as possible. By making the appropriate adaptations in the routine and using the medications, when necessary, it is possible to control the symptoms and have a good quality of life.

In some cases, there may be a need for surgical treatment, due to anatomical conditions. But resources are available to alleviate the symptoms.

Can acute sinusitis become chronic?

Yes. If not treated correctly, sinusitis can cause changes in the paranasal fossa, making the condition chronic.

How are chronic and acute sinus infections treated?

The treatment of chronic sinusitis will depend on the causes. In general, it is caused by inflammation due to primary conditions (septic deviations or diseases, for example). In that case, you need to control the inflammation and address the cause.

In acute sinusitis, however, it is necessary to relieve symptoms with medications and expectorants. If the infection is bacterial, antibiotics must be used.

What is the pain of sinusitis?

Headache is one of the symptoms most associated with sinusitis, but it needs to be differentiated from other headaches. In general, pain due to sinusitis has a pulsatile action, that is, it seems that some regions of the head are pulsating.

There is also a tendency for the pain to worsen when the person bends down, giving a feeling of heaviness in the head. Generally, the cheekbones and the region above the eyes are the ones that present the most pain.

Does sinusitis make you dizzy?

Although not a frequent symptom, vertigo and dizziness due to sinusitis, usually caused by severe headache , can occur .

Does sinusitis give you a fever?

In general, fever can occur. However, temperature rise is more frequent in acute types of sinusitis. In the chronic condition, although it may also present fever, the incidence is lower.

Is fungal sinusitis dangerous?

Fungal sinusitis occurs when the infection of the paranasal cavities is caused by fungi, which form a cluster in the region. Complications are generally more recurrent and more severe.

There are cases that can evolve to stroke due to the worsening of the condition, but the removal of the fungal cluster is enough for the patient to recover completely.

Changes in immunity, allergies, flu and colds are relatively common conditions and can be favored by environmental factors. Often, these health changes trigger sinusitis, which, although generally simple, can bring great discomfort to the patient.

Even mild conditions of the disease must be properly diagnosed and referred so that the risks of complications or worsening are minimized.

Simple measures can be adopted so that episodes of sinusitis and other diseases have less incidence, such as care with air circulation, hygiene of the environment and general health care.

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