Dr. M.J. Bazos, Patient Handout
About Your Diagnosis
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses (the air pockets in the facial bones that are connected to the nose). It can be an acute or chronic infection often caused by bacteria, allergies, pollution, or nasal polyps. The sinuses usually affected are located between the eyes and the cheekbones. Sinusitis sometimes occurs after a viral infection such as a cold.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms include pain over the sinuses affected, such as the cheek, upper teeth, behind the eyes, or over the eyebrows; a nonproductive cough; low-grade fever; nasal congestion with a thick green-yellow discharge; a severe headache that is worse in the morning; and fatigue.

Your doctor may prescribe antihistamines if the sinusitis is caused by allergies, or antibiotics if the sinusitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Nasal sprays and decongestants will help to decrease the congestion. Increasing your fluid intake will help to thin the secretions. Resting with your head elevated slightly will help promote drainage. For minor pain use medications such as Tylenol or Advil. An acute bout of sinusitis will usually clear completely in 2–3 weeks with treatment.

The DOs
• Take all of your antibiotics; stopping them can result in a recurrence of the infection.
• Rest with your head slightly elevated (no more than 30 degrees).
• Increase your fluid intake to help thin secretions. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
• Use a vaporizer or inhale steam from a shower to help relieve congestion.
• Use warm compresses over the sinus area four times a day for one- or two-hour intervals.
• Use nonprecription medications such as Tylenol or Advil for minor pain.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t use nonprescription nose sprays because they can make symptoms worse.
• Don’t allow anyone else to use your nasal sprays or drops.
• Don’t rest sitting up. Elevate your head only slightly to help the sinuses to drain.
• Don’t travel in an airplane during an acute attack because the pressure changes can make symptoms much worse. Check with your doctor first if you must fly.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If you have fever and chills during treatment.
• If you have swelling of the face over the sinuses.
• If you have blurred vision or a severe headache that is not relieved with nonprescription medications.

www.healthfinder.gov (Choose SEARCH to search by topic.)