Sinusitis is a common disease which means that a cold has spread from the mucous membrane of the nose to the mucous membrane of the sinuses. Common symptoms are you get a sore face and sniff that runs back in the throat. The disease usually goes away by itself but sometimes you may need treatment.

What is a sinusoid?

The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the skeleton of the face. All sinuses are connected to the nasal cavity.

The sinuses are covered with mucous membranes, just like the nose. If the virus gets stuck to the mucous membrane, the body’s immune system begins to produce antibodies and mucus in defense. 

There are sinuses in the forehead, in the upper jaw and in the sill bone, which sit between the nose and the eye and behind the nose.

Symptoms of sinusitis

Common symptoms of sinusitis are that you in conjunction with a cold

  • have pain in the cheeks or forehead, usually more on one side
  • gets a sniff, which often flows backward, and gets stuffy in the nose, usually worse on one side
  • have a worse sense of smell
  • get sore or a feeling of pressure in the teeth of the upper jaw.

It is most common to have problems in the jaw sinuses, but other sinuses can also become inflamed. Then the diseases are often more severe.

Sinusitis is rare in children younger than six years, but they can get infections in the sepsis, the only sinuses developed in young children. Inflammation of the sieve holes is called ethmoiditis. Older children and adults can also get infections in the foreheads and the larynx.

These infections can spread to the eyelid and the meninges and cause more severe symptoms of sinusitis with high fever and severe pain. In young children, ethmoiditis at first can only cause eye swelling symptoms and easier cold symptoms.

When and where should I seek care?

The vast majority of people who get sinusitis do not need to seek care, as the problems usually go away by themselves.

If you think you have sinusitis and do not get better within 10 days, contact a health care provider.

You should seek care at an emergency room earlier if you as an adult or your child

  • freezes strongly and has a high fever
  • feel weak and stiff in the neck
  • has severe pain over the forehead or at the root of the nose
  • turns red and swollen in the skin around the eye.

It is important that you understand the information

In order for you to be active in your care and to make decisions, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare personnel. Ask questions if you don’t understand. You can also ask to have the information printed so that you can read it peacefully.

You may also have the right to get help from an interpreter if you have a hearing loss.

What can I do for myself?

There are several things you can do yourself to alleviate the problems in the sinuses and make the mucus and wounds run out easier.

It may be good to sleep with an extra pillow under your head. Having high under the head reduces the swelling of the nose and sinuses.

It is also good to be up and moving instead of lying down. Then the mucous membranes of the nose contract and the swelling decrease.

It is good to drink a little more than usual, it can make the mucus become less chewy and drain out easier.

If you smoke, the mucous membrane swells and it makes the mucus harder to drain.

Prescription-free nasal spray can help

Prescription-free swelling nasal spray can help against the swelling of the mucous membrane. It does not make the healing go faster, but it reduces the symptoms of sinusitis. Do not use the nasal spray for more than 10 consecutive days. Then it can instead increase swelling.

Prescription-free nasal spray with cortisone reduces the swelling of the mucosa by dampening the inflammation. It can also make the course of the disease shorter.

Nasal rinsing can relieve

You can also rinse your nose with saline. There are ready-made saline drops and saline spray to buy at pharmacies. You can also make saline yourself by mixing a spicy salt in a deciliter of water. The water does not need to be boiled, but it can feel better if the solution is lukewarm when using it. To get the saline solution into your nose you can use a special nasal rinse or a small plastic syringe. Both are available at pharmacies. Nasal flushing can relieve your symptoms but does not speed up healing.

Does sinusitis infect?

The sinusitis itself does not infect. In contrast, the cold that caused the sinusitis infects.


The doctor examines the nose, oral cavity and pharynx to find out if it is flowing in the pharynx or nose. The examination can be done with a standard lamp or with the help of fiber optics. Then a thin tube with a camera is inserted into the nose. Often, the ears are also examined because infections can also be found there.

Sometimes more investigations are needed

If your doctor suspects you have a more serious infection, you may need to do more examinations. This also applies if you have been in trouble for a long time. Then you can do an X-ray examination with so-called X-rays. It can show if there is fluid in the sinuses and how swollen the mucosa is.

If there is fluid in the sinuses, the infection may be due to bacteria, but it need not be. In this case, the doctor can flush the sinuses. It quickly relieves the symptoms of sinusitis but also makes it possible to grow any bacteria from the fluid.

If your doctor suspects you have complicated sinusitis, you should be examined by an ear-nose-throat doctor.

Treatment of sinusitis

Depending on what has caused sinusitis and how long you have been ill, you may receive different types of treatment of sinusitis. The treatment is to reduce the swelling and open the passages so that each mucus can drain out.

cortisone nasal spray

A cortisone nasal spray can cause inflammation to subside and swelling decreases. This treatment of sinusitis can also help if there are other reasons why the mucous membranes are swollen. For example, there may be some other inflammation, allergies or if you are extra sensitive to the mucous membrane.

Occasionally, you may get a snuff that is mixed with blood if you use a cortisone spray. Therefore, it is important to follow the instructions on the package leaflet.


If you have severe sinusitis you may need antibiotic treatment. In the first place, you get penicillin such as Kåvepenin and Peceve. If that doesn’t help, you can get a so-called broad-spectrum antibiotic. They have an effect on many different types of bacteria but also affect the body’s normal bacterial flora more than ordinary penicillin.

Flushing of the sinuses

In some cases, when the inflammation does not cause, the sinuses may need to be flushed. This makes the inflammation heal faster and allows for sampling and makes it easier for the doctor to make a diagnosis.  


You may need hospital care if you have severe inflammation of the sinuses, especially in infections in sinuses other than the jaws. This usually opens the aisles to the sinuses and you get antibiotics directly into the blood.

If you have a severe infection you may need emergency surgery. Then the doctor empties the sinuses on fluid and was. You may also need surgery if you have a chronic infection or if you have multiple recurring infections. Then the doctor makes fluid and mucus run out easier. It reduces the risk of you getting new infections.

What happens in the body?

Inflammation of the sinuses usually starts with a  common cold caused by viruses. The infection, in turn, causes inflammation where the mucous membranes swell and fluid and mucus are formed. The swelling can also cause the passage of the nose to become clogged again, which means that fluid and mucus cannot drain out.

In most cases, the body’s own immune system takes care of the infection, but if the symptoms last a long time or increase and become severe, you may need treatment of sinusitis with antibiotics.

Infection of the tooth can spread to the sinus

An infection of a tooth in the upper jaw can spread to a sinus. Then the infection only sits in the sinus that is closest to the tooth and it often works in the upper jaw. Then you can also get a sniff that smells bad in one nostril. In these cases, you need treatment for the infection of the tooth for it to heal.

Allergy and smoking increase the risk

The mucous membranes can swell if you are allergic or hypersensitive to something. This increases the risk of getting sinusitis because the nose can be blocked again.

If you smoke, the risk of getting sinusitis increases because smoking causes the mucous membranes to swell.

The size of the sinuses varies

The size of the sinuses can vary from person to person. This applies especially to the sinuses in the boiler. Some have no sinuses in the boiler at all.

More things that affect how often you get sick

There are several causes that affect whether you get sinusitis and how sick you are. Some things that are important are

  • the size of the apertures of the sinuses – small holes swell easier again
  • mucosal ability to transport mucus
  • how well the body’s defense against infections works.

Unusual with severe sequelae

It is very uncommon for sinusitis to cause any serious sequelae.

Some may have a more prolonged infection and inflammation with unclear symptoms such as fatigue, decreased appetite, poor sense of smell and nasal congestion or sniffing from one nostril. Sometimes prolonged sinusitis causes you to have a prolonged cough.

Serious sequelae for the infections of the sinuses are uncommon but if the symptoms get worse you should consult a doctor. In rare cases, infections can spread outside the sinus and give rise to other diseases.

Children and sinusitis

In newborns, sinuses are very small, but they develop over time and tend to be fully developed when the child becomes a teenager. The syllable holes are between the nose and the eyes. They develop at the earliest, which means that children who get sinusitis most often get an inflammation in the sepsis.

In case of inflammation of the sebaceous cavities, it becomes red and swollen around the eye and there is a risk that the infection spreads into the eyeball and affects the eyesight. Etmoiditis is very serious and requires hospital care. 

Pregnant and sinusitis

During pregnancy, the body’s mucous membranes swell. Therefore, problems with sinusitis are more common if you are pregnant. Cortisone spray can be used during pregnancy to reduce the problems. Ask your doctor or midwife for advice if you are unsure.

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