If you’ve ever suffered from sinus problems, you are not alone. Approximately 15 percent of Americans suffer from sinusitis, which is a swelling of the sinuses, or air passages behind the cheekbones, eyebrows and jaw.
Symptoms of sinusitis can include:
- pain in the face, head or neck
- stuffy nose
- runny nose with thick or discolored mucous
- low-grade fever
- clogged ears
- general ill feeling
Sinusitis can be caused by colds, flu, allergies, medicines, infections, changes in temperature or atmosphere, or irritants in the air. Also, smoking, swimming, diving and overusing nasal sprays can increase your risk of getting a sinus infection.
There are two main types of sinusitis:
This usually begins suddenly, often just a few days after a cold. If your cold symptoms last more than a week, you may be suffering from acute sinusitis. Symptoms of acute sinusitis usually disappear within a few days.
If you have had frequent episodes of acute sinusitis, or if your symptoms never completely go away, you may have chronic sinusitis. This condition is much less common than acute sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis can flare up unexpectedly, or it may follow a cold or respiratory infection. Since the symptoms may be less severe than that of acute sinusitis, it may go untreated for long periods of time. This can cause damage to the sinus tissues. These symptoms can also be caused by cigarette smoking.