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Sinusitis (sinus infection)

Sinusitis is where the sinuses (small, empty spaces behind your cheekbones and forehead) become swollen, usually caused by an infection.

Common symptoms of sinusitis include pain in your face, a blocked or runny nose, and a headache.

Treatment for sinusitis includes rest, fluids, painkillers, decongestants and nasal sprays. See a GP if you do not feel better after a week.

Read more on the NHS website.

Common symptoms of sinusitis include pain in your face, a blocked or runny nose, and a headache.

Check if you have sinusitis

Sinusitis is common after a cold or flu.

Symptoms of sinusitis include:

Signs of sinusitis in young children may also include irritability, difficulty feeding, and breathing through their mouth.

Read more on the NHS website.

Treatment for sinusitis includes rest, fluids, painkillers, decongestants and nasal sprays. See a GP if you do not feel better after a week.

Self-care

You can often treat mild sinusitis without seeing a GP by:

  • getting plenty of rest
  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (do not give aspirin to children under 16)
  • avoiding allergic triggers and not smoking
  • cleaning your nose with a salt water solution to ease congestion

Medical treatments

If you have sinusitis, a GP may be able to recommend other medicines to help with your symptoms, such as:

  • steroid nasal sprays or drops – to reduce the swelling in your sinuses
  • antihistamines – if an allergy is causing your symptoms
  • antibiotics – if a bacterial infection is causing your symptoms and you're very unwell or at risk of complications (but antibiotics are often not needed, as sinusitis is usually caused by a virus)

You might need to take steroid nasal sprays or drops for a few months. They sometimes cause irritation, sore throats or nosebleeds.

A GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist if, for example, you:

  • still have sinusitis after 3 months of treatment
  • keep getting sinusitis
  • only have symptoms on 1 side of your face

They may also recommend surgery in some cases.

Read more on the NHS website.