Sinus infections

What is a Sinus Infection?

Sinus infections happen when fluid builds up in the nasal cavities (sinuses), causing infection, swelling, and inflammation. A sinus infection is also called sinusitis.

What causes sinus infections?

  • The common cold
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Smoking
  • Structural problems with the sinuses (such as small growths in the nose lining called nasal polyps)
  • A weakened immune system


What are the symptoms of a sinus infection?


Signs of a Sinus Infection:

  • Runny and/or stuffy nose
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Headache
  • Post-nasal drip (mucus dripping down the throat)
  • Pain in teeth
  • Sore throat
  • Cough


Preventing Sinus Infections

A sinus infection can happen to anyone; however, you can reduce the risk of developing an infection. Here are some tips to help prevent a sinus infection:

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Do not touch your face.
  • Avoid allergens, such as pollen and mold.
  • Do not smoke and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Receive recommended vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Use a humidifier to moisten the air at home.


How are Sinus Infections Treated?

Sinus infections may require an examination and treatment by a physician. See a doctor if you have the following symptoms:

  • Severe headache or facial pain
  • Fever
  • Nasal discharge
  • Congestion
  • Worsening of symptoms after initial improvement

Treatment depends on the severity of the infection. A physician may recommend using an over-the-counter decongestant and/or saline nasal wash. However, antibiotics or prescribed nasal sprays may be needed for more severe infections. Consult a physician for the best treatment.

Home Remedies for a Sinus Infection

  • Applying warm compresses to ease discomfort around the nose and sinuses
  • Breathing warm, moist air (e.g., using a vaporizer, steam from a bowl of hot water or a hot shower.
  • Using saline nose drops
  • Taking over-the-counter decongestants
  • Drinking plenty of fluids


To learn more about illnesses like this and others treatable at any Patient First urgent care, please visit our Illnesses page. You can also walk into any Patient First center from 8am to 10pm, any day of the week – no appointment is needed.