Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses (air-filled cavities) adjacent to the nose, commonly affecting the sinuses located between the eyes and in the cheekbones. Germs that cause sinusitis are contagious.

Symptoms

  • Nasal congestion with yellow-green discharge
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Eye pain
  • Cheek pain
  • Fever (occasional)

Causes

  • Inflammation, usually initiated by a cold or upper respiratory illness
  • Irritation of the nasal passages from allergies or smoking

Prevention

  • Avoid close contact with anyone with upper-respiratory illnesses
  • Wash hands regularly
  • Don't share drinking glasses or eating utensils
  • Replace your toothbrush after an illness and/or every two months

Self-care

  • Drink extra fluids, at least eight glasses a day
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Take Ibuprofen or Tylenol for pain and fever
  • Take decongestant like Sudafed as directed
  • If a sore throat is present, gargle every two to three hours with a solution of one teaspoon salt mixed with one cup warm water and suck on medicated lozenges every two hours
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier in your room
  • Don't smoke; avoid secondhand smoke
  • Try using an over-the-counter saline nasal spray
  • Have chicken soup - it helps clear mucus

Treatment

Diagnostic tests may include blood work, culture, or x-rays of the sinuses. Antibiotics may be prescribed to fight an infection. If they are prescribed, be sure to take the entire antibiotic you are given.