Rhinosinusitis is a condition that is due to inflammation of your nasal passages and sinus cavities. Sinuses are spaces within the bones of the face and these spaces are in direct contact with the nose.

The inflammation causes swelling and blockage of the openings into the nose and hence accumulation of mucous in these sinuses further worsening the condition.

Rhinosinusitis is divided into four categories depending on how long the illness lasts:

  • Acute rhinosinusitis: symptoms last less than 4 weeks
  • Subacute rhinosinusitis: symptoms last 4 to 12 weeks
  • Chronic rhinosinusitis: symptoms last longer than 12 weeks
  • Recurrent rhinosinusitis: 4 or more episodes per year


Acute rhinosinusitis is usually due to viral upper respiratory tract infection like a common cold. This can later be worsened by infection with bacteria.

Chronic rhinosinusitis is usually associated with allergies, nasal polyps, immunity disorders like cystic fibrosis.


Symptoms of rhinosinusitis include the following

  • Discharge or Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat (postnasal drainage)
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion
  • Pain, tenderness, swelling and pressure around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead that worsens when bending over
  • Reduced sense of smell

Other signs and symptoms can include: Ear pressure, Headache, Aching in your upper jaw and teeth, Cough which might be worse at night, Bad breath (halitosis), Fatigue, change of taste and Fever.


Your health practitioner will take a history of your symptoms and examine your nose. He may also use an endoscope which is a camera to see inside the nose and mucous sample gotten for examination in the lab. For chronic rhinosinusitis you may be required to have CT scan done.



Acute sinusitis is usually caused by a viral infection and thus it resolves on its own. Self-care techniques are usually all you need to ease symptoms like plenty oral fluids , analgesia and nasal decongestants and antihistamine.

Chronic rhinosinusitis treatment may include:

  • Saline nasal spray. Helps to rinse the nose
  • Nasal corticosteroids. These help reduce inflammation
  • Nasal decongestants. The help to reduce the nasal blockage
  • Antibiotics . these are used when your doctor suspects or confirmed bacterial infection


  1. Watkinson J.C, Clarke RW, Scott-Brown’s otorhinolaryngology Head and neck Surgery, 8th Edition, Taylor and Francis group, 2018:chap 94
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000647.htm