What are the symptoms of a sinus infection?

Some signs and symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • headaches
  • nasal congestion/discharge
  • postnasal drip (mucus drips down the throat from the nose)
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • cough
  • fatigue
  • bad breath

Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, occurs when the sinuses and nasal passages become inflamed.

Dr. Satish Govindaraj, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT Specialist)

The symptoms of a sinus infection vary if it is an acute (present for less than 4 weeks) or chronic (present for > 3 months) infection. In general, most people are referring to the acute infection. The primary symptoms of an acute sinus infection are: facial pain or pressure, discolored nasal discharge, nasal congestion, loss of smell, and occasionally cough due to post nasal drip. Other associated symptoms are fever, fatigue, dental pain, and halitosis (bad breath). When symptoms are present for less than 10 days, the causative agent is usually viral and when symptoms last greater than 10 to 14 days,a bacteria is usually the cause and antibiotics may be needed to clear the infection.

If you have a sinus problem, you might notice these symptoms:
  • Runny nose with thick mucus
  • Stuffy nose
  • A daytime cough that may be worse at night
  • Puffy eyes, especially in the morning
  • Bad breath
  • Drainage down the back of your throat
  • Headache
  • Pain in the upper teeth
  • A feeling of soreness or pressure in your face or behind your eyes
  • Fever

Many of the symptoms that bring in patients are listed following and are some of the many reasons that people seek the support of an ENT surgeons when dealing with their sinus issues: need to blow nose, sneezing, runny nose, cough, post nasal discharge, thick nasal discharge, ear fullness, dizziness, ear pain, facial pain or pressure, difficult falling asleep, waking up at night, lack of sleep, waking up tired, fatigue, reduced productivity, reduced concentration, frustrated/restless/irritable, sad or embarrassed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.