Sinus infection, or sinusitis, occurs when the mucus lining of the sinuses becomes swollen and inflamed. Sinuses are hollow air-filled cavities in the bones of the face that open into the nasal passage. When the sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, bacteria, viruses, or fungi can grow, causing an infection.


Causes of Sinus Infection

A sinus infection, or sinusitis, can be caused by bacteria, viruses, allergens such as pollen, air pollution, or irritants and chemicals in the air. Almost 90 percent of sinus infections are caused by viruses. Some people are more inclined to get sinusitis because their sinuses are narrow or easily blocked.

Children are more likely to get sinusitis if they are exposed to cigarette smoke, lie on their backs while drinking from a bottle, or suck frequently on a pacifier. Smoking contributes to sinusitis in adults.


Symptoms of Sinus Infection

Symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Headaches, particularly behind the forehead
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Post nasal drip
  • Cough
  • Fatigue and body aches
  • Nasal discharge
  • Facial pressure
  • Bad breath
  • Dental pain


Treatment for Sinus Infection

Sinus infections caused by viruses do not respond to antibiotics. Sinusitis caused by a virus usually clears up on its own after 7 to 10 days. Rest and drink plenty of fluids. Over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, and warm compresses on the face can help relieve the symptoms.

Bacterial sinus infections often follow sinusitis caused by a virus or allergy. Bacterial sinus infections can be treated with antibiotics. Most bacterial sinus infections respond quickly to treatment.  At Urgent Family Care in Knoxville or Sevierville, Tennessee we can help.

If you have recurring or chronic sinus infections, you might have an underlying condition, such as a deviated septum that needs medical evaluation.

See a doctor if:

  • You have had symptoms of a sinus infection for more than 10 days.
  • You have moderate to severe headaches and facial pain.
  • You have fever higher than 100.4 degrees F and feel generally unwell.
  • Your mucus is yellow or green.
  • You have had multiple sinus infections in the past year.
  • Sinus discomfort is interfering with your sleep or your daily routine.
  • You are worried about your child who seems to have a sinus infection.

Evaluation and treatment for sinus infections is available at Urgent Family Care in Knoxville or Sevierville, Tennessee. No appointment necessary – walk-ins are welcome!


DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is not intended to replace the advice of a physician. It is information that is generally available. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.