Everything About Sinusitis

Sinus infections aren’t always caused by a virus, sometimes bacteria’s and fungus could be the culprit. But if it’s caused by a virus, then yes, it is contagious, and you can transmit infection to the other person. Spreading the virus infection doesn’t mean person can get sinusitis, most often they get only cold and flu. Their cold may turn into a sinus infection, but this doesn’t always happen.

No, both are different. Sinusitis is an inflammation and involvement of the mucosal lining of the sinus cavities, whereas rhinitis is an inflammation of the overall nasal cavity mucosa.

Yes, both are same. In both conditions we get inflammation and mucosal swelling inside sinuses. Usually, sinus cavity is an air-filled space but when its drainage is blocked, then virus / bacteria can multiply inside the cavity leading to sinusitis/ sinus infection.

To diagnose patients with sinusitis, they must be experiencing at
least 2 of the following symptoms: Nasal blockage/ obstruction/ clogged nose, nasal discharge, headache/facial pain, loss/altered sense of smell, cough.

Once you explain all your symptoms to your doctor, he will do a
clinical examination to look inside your nose and sinuses using rigid or flexible endoscope. He will look for any deviated nasal septum, any mucus along nasal floor or from the sinus openings, any new bony growth or mass/ tumor. If required, then doctor might ask for radiological studies like X ray, CT scan or MRI to confirm diagnosis and plan further treatment.


Depending on the cause of sinusitis, your doctor will recommend treatment for it. If its due to an allergy, then he will prescribe anti-allergic medications like oral  anti-histamines, nasal decongestant drops, nasal steroid spray or in some severe cases immunotherapy. If your sinusitis is due to a bacterial infection, then a course of antibiotics is usually prescribed along with oral or nasal decongestants. If drug therapies have failed or you have severe nasal anatomical deformities leading to recurrent sinusitis, then your doctor will recommend surgical treatment.

Yes, if you are suffering from acute sinusitis. Patients suffering from acute viral/ bacterial sinusitis might have high fever during initial first few days of their illness.

No, usually sinus/nose related diseases don’t cause dizziness.
Dizziness is more commonly seen in patients suffering from ear diseases.

Yes, sinusitis can cause pressure build up behind the eyes and which could lead to pain in one or both eyes. It is also possible for the sinus infection to spread inside your orbit (eye socket) leading to pain in the eye, redness & swelling, bulging/ proptosis of eye, double vision, and in some severe cases loss of vision.

No, sinusitis has no relation to migraines. But most certainly
sinusitis can make migraine headaches more painful and frequent.

Sense of smell receptors are located high up inside the nose.
When one has a cold/ flu/ sinusitis then there is swelling and lot more mucous production inside the nose. The mucous and swelling in the nose prevents the smell (odorant) from reaching the top of the nasal cavity.  Hence the smell never reaches the smell nerves, and the person cannot perceive any smell.

The sinuses are air filled spaces within the bones of the face
and forehead that drains into the nasal cavity on both sides. We have 4 sets of sinuses on each side of the face which also helps to lighten weight of our skull bone. Normally sinus cavities are empty, and its walls are lined by a very thin layer of mucus, which helps to trap virus / bacteria. The sinuses need to be able to drain regularly and clearly to work efficiently, if the sinus opening is blocked for any reason, then sinus problem results. In sinusitis, its cavity gets filled with thick mucus secretions which creates sense of pressure in your forehead, behind your eyes, either side of your nose, and in upper jaws and teeth.

Regular saline nasal irrigation is a helpful and effective treatment for most patients with sinusitis. It improves symptoms by improving the flow of thick mucus, and potentially by washing away irritants and allergens in the nose.

Sinusitis can be caused by number of different reasons like following a viral cold, dental infection leading to sinusitis, nasal mass blocking sinus drainage, severe nasal allergies leading to nasal polyps etc. Most often, sinusitis is acute in onset and could be easily treated by a course of antibiotics, anti-histamines, nasal/oral steroids. In some cases, if your symptoms are persistent then you could be having chronic sinusitis and you need to consult an ENT to rule out above mentioned causes. Your doctor will take proper clinical history, will perform nasal endoscopy, and ask for the CT scan of your sinuses to confirm/ rule out sinusitis. Depending on the cause of sinusitis, he would either prescribe medications or recommend for surgical treatment.

There are 4 pairs of sinuses on each side of your face, which when
infected leads to sinusitis. Whenever person in suffering from persistent nasal blockage, nasal discharge, facial pain/ headache, loss of sense of smell then he/she should see an ENT doctor.
ENT specialist will do proper clinical examination, nasal endoscopy and when required a CT scan of the sinuses to diagnose and treat sinusitis.