Acute Sinusitis Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Acute sinusitis is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. Sinuses are normally filled with air but can become filled and blocked by fluids, which can lead to bacterial growth and infection. Among the conditions that can cause sinus blockage are the common cold, allergic rhinitis, nasal polyps or deviated septum. Allergies also can cause swelling and poor drainage of the sinuses.

Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis

Acute sinusitis usually begins suddenly, often after a common cold. Symptoms include:

  • Thick nasal or postnasal drainage
  • Discomfort in the cheeks, forehead or around the eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Slight fever
  • Loss of smell
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dental pain

Detection and Diagnosis

A variety of tests can help diagnose acute sinusitis, including:

  • An examination of the face for swelling, redness, and tenderness
  • A mucus culture
  • Nasal endoscopy
  • X-rays
  • Allergy testing
  • CT scan of sinuses

Treatment Options

Treatment options for acute sinusitis include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Oral or topical decongestants
  • Drops and sprays
  • Antihistamine

Patients who have sinus problems should refrain from smoking during treatment. No special diet is required but drinking extra fluids can help thin secretions. If antibiotics and medicines are not effective in opening sinuses, or if there is a structural abnormality, surgery may be necessary to permanently reduce the swollen membranes of the nose.

If you need a referral to a physician at Palmdale Regional Medical Center, call our free physician referral service at 1-800-851-9780.