Sinus Headaches

Sinus Infection Symptoms are Mostly Similar to Common Cold

The symptoms of sinus infection largely depend on whether the sinus infection is chronic or acute. Sinusitis has different pain signals varying from person to person. There are basically two types of sinusitis – namely, Acute Sinusitis and Chronic Sinusitis. Sinusitis lasting a few days is known as acute sinusitis, whereas the sinusitis lasting more than three months is called Chronic Sinusitis. Acute sinusitis is more painful, whereas chronic sinusitis is more uncomfortable rather than painful.

Most common symptoms
  • Running nose
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Headache in the temple or surrounding areas
  • Frequent clearing of throat
  • Discharge of mucous from the nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache which becomes worse after waking up in the morning, on bending forward, or riding an elevator
  • Fever
  • Itching in nose and eyes
  • Bad breath
  • Eye and face pain
  • Feeling of tiredness and weakness
  • Reduction in sense of taste and smell

Other rare symptoms
Ear-ache, tenderness and swelling behind the ear.
Hoarse voice and sore throat caused due to post-nasal drip.
Swelling in the eye region due to spread of infection from sinuses to the eyes.
Vomiting with severe headache caused due to spread of infection to the brain. This symptom also indicates the possibility of meningitis.
Pain in teeth, upper jaw and cheeks which may often be mistaken for toothache.

In cases where the patient experiences eye and facial pain, the condition is acute and it is easier to detect which sinus openings are blocked. However, most patients experience pain or tenderness in several locations. These symptoms do not clearly define the affected sinuses.

The mucous produced by the mucous membrane sometimes flows into the nose through small holes called ostia. The ostia get blocked when the sinuses are inflamed. This may happen if the membranes are exposed to some allergic substance such as pollen grains or in case one has an infection such as a cold. Sometimes the lining of the nose is constantly irritated by them causing chronic sinusitis.

Examples of such irritants are:
  • Bacteria, viruses or fungi infection.
  • Pollen grains.
  • Overuse of nasal decongestants.
  • Drug misuse or snorting.

Sometimes, sinusitis forms a pocket of pus (abscess) in the facial bone, brain or the eye socket, though it is a rare occurrence. The symptoms of sinusitis are very similar to that of common cold specifically in children. The symptoms may mimic a cold due to which sinusitis often goes undetected. Only a thorough examination by the doctor can determine the true cause.

Chronic sinusitis patients are affected by conditions such as damp weather or pollutants in the air and buildings. Chronic sinusitis is more common in patients with immune deficiency and diseases like HIV infection, Kartagener's Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis.