Family Pharmacy

Respiratory system

Sinusitis - Acute or chronic is a bummer

Family Pharmacy

Sinusitis is an inflammation and / or infection of the paranasal sinuses which can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi.

The paranasal sinuses are lined with a tissue that normally produces mucus that drains into the nose and has a protective function in the airways.

When inflammation, such as sinusitis occurs, the sinuses are blocked, with an accumulation of mucus that causes infection and pain.

Usually, the manifestations triggered by sinusitis improve after 7 to 10 days. 

Sinusitis - Symptoms
Sinusitis - Symptoms


Sinusitis can be acute, when it lasts less than 4 weeks, or chronic when it exceeds that period. Chronic sinusitis may have fewer symptoms than acute sinusitis; however, treatment is important to prevent injury to the paranasal sinuses.

Manifestations of sinusitis include:

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Cough and/or phlegm
  • Nasal congestion
  • Rhinorrhoea
  • Halitosis
  • Decrease or loss of smell or taste
  • Thick white, yellow, or green mucus in the nose
  • Toothache
  • Pain or feeling of pressure on the face

Sinusitis - Causes
Sinusitis - Causes


  • Respiratory infections (e.g., flu or constipation)
  • Adverse weather conditions (e.g., cold and humidity).
  • Nose traumas
  • Sudden changes in pressure (e.g., flight or diving)
  • Air pollution (e.g., car pollution and smoking)
  • Poor nasal hygiene
  • Deviations of the nasal septum
  • Concomitant diseases with disorders of the immune system and consequent decrease in the body's resistance
  • Excessive use of nasal decongestants
  • Respiratory allergies (e.g., household dust, pollens, and animal hair)

Sinusitis - Treatment
Sinusitis - Treatment


  • For pain relief you can use anti-inflammatories (e.g., ibuprofen)
  • To decongest your nose:
    • Perform adequate nasal hygiene, using, if necessary, saline or seawater sprays
    • You can also use oral decongestants, sprays or drops, for short periods of time
  • Thermal treatments for some cases of sinusitis have shown good results
  • Get the flu vaccine if you belong to a risk group

Sinusitis - Prevention
Sinusitis - Prevention

Prevention / precautions to be taken

  • Drink plenty of fluids to fluidise and drain nasal secretions
  • Avoid places with air pollution and tobacco smoke
  • If you tend to suffer from allergies (e.g., to dust mites, pollens, or animal hair) keep them under control
  • Do not pick your nose, as your fingers may be contaminated with microorganisms that cause infections
  • Blow your nose gently, to prevent secretions from building up
  • Avoid travelling by plane in critical sinusitis times
  • Strengthen immune defences with vitamins by using dietary supplements

When should I see a doctor?

  • Constant acute sinusitis that does not respond to treatment
  • If sinusitis symptoms persist for more than 7-10 days
  • Mental confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Double vision or vision changes
  • Torticollis

Sinusitis is a quite common disease and it significantly affects the quality of life and the professional and social performance of the people affected, so contact your pharmacist and learn how to prevent and minimize symptoms.


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