Sinusitis is an infection or inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the inside of the nose and facial sinuses. Facial sinuses are hollow spaces, or cavities, located in the skull around the eyes, cheeks, and nose.
When a mucous membrane becomes inflamed, it swells, blocking the drainage from the sinuses into the nose and throat and causing pressure and pain in the sinuses. Bacteria are more likely to grow in sinuses that are unable to drain properly. Symptoms may include pain and pressure in the face, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose, nasal congestion, and sometimes a fever, a chronic cough that produces mucus, and a reduced sense of taste or smell.
Sinusitis often improves on its own, but it may need to be treated with antibiotics or other medications if symptoms are severe or last longer than 4 weeks.
Last Revised: August 3, 2010
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.