Causes of SinusitisMost of the time, acute sinusitis is caused by an infection with a virus (this is known as acute viral sinusitis). The same virus will often cause common cold symptoms at the same time.
Other, less common causes of acute sinusitis include:
- An infection with bacteria (known as acute bacterial sinusitis), usually as a complication of viral sinusitis (see Sinusitis Risk Factors for more things that increase a person's chances for developing a sinus infection, such as allergies)
- An infection with fungus (see Fungal Sinus Infection).
Healthcare providers once believed that bacteria were the main cause of a chronic sinus infection. What they have come to learn, though, is that it is a lot more complex than just a simple infection. Researchers continue to look for the exact cause or causes of chronic sinusitis.
Researchers do know that certain things increase the likelihood for long-term inflammation and swelling of the sinus and nasal passages, and the inability for the sinuses to drain properly.
(Click Sinus Infection (Sinusitis) Causes for more information, including what increases a person's risk for both acute and chronic sinusitis.)
Signs and Symptoms of SinusitisThere are a number of common signs and symptoms of a sinus infection in adults. The most common symptoms in people with acute sinusitis include:
- Nasal congestion or blockage
- Drainage of thick, yellow-to-green mucus (which can drain out the nose or down the back of the throat)
- Face pain or discomfort that is worse when bending over
- Tooth pain or discomfort.
Other symptoms, such as a fever or cough, are less common.
Most symptoms of sinusitis develop over 1 day and improve within 7 to 10 days. Symptoms tend to be at their worst from day 3 to day 6.
(Click Sinus Infection (Sinusitis) Symptoms for more information about symptoms of sinus infections, including those that are common with chronic sinusitis. You can also click Cold or Sinus Infection to see the difference between sinusitis and cold symptoms.)