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Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, the air-filled spaces behind your forehead, cheeks, and eyes. It can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) and is often caused by viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, allergies, nasal polyps, or a deviated septum. Acute sinusitis typically lasts less than four weeks, while chronic sinusitis may persist for longer periods.


While sinusitis is usually a self-limiting condition that resolves on its own, it’s essential to seek medical attention if symptoms persist for more than a 10 days. Antibiotics are prescribed in certain cases if symptoms persist for longer than 10 day days 

Acute sinusitis is diagnosed by the presence of ONE or more of:
☐ Nasal blockage or
☐ Nasal discharge

With ONE or more of:
☐ Facial pain/pressure (or headache) or
☐ Reduction (or loss) of the sense of smell (in adults)
☐ Cough during the day or at night (in children)
And if symptoms last longer than 10 days.

If you meet this criteria our pharmacists can arrange for a video call and a treatment plan.

Here is the inclusion criteria
☐ Children 12 years of age plus
☐ Adults

Here is the exclusion criteria
☐ Under 12 years of age
☐ Pregnancy or suspected pregnancy in individuals under 16 years Of age
☐ Recurrent sinusitis ((4 or more annual episodes Of sinusitis)
☐ Symptom duration of less than 10 days

Sinusitis usually lasts 2-3 weeks, self-care is advised with over the counter medication.

While sinusitis is usually a self-limiting condition that resolves on its own, it's essential to seek medical attention if symptoms persist

How common is sinusitis

Sinusitis is a common condition, affecting millions of people worldwide each year. Acute sinusitis is more prevalent and often occurs as a complication of a cold or upper respiratory infection. Chronic sinusitis is less common but can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life due to its persistent nature.

Symptoms of sinusitis

The symptoms of sinusitis can vary depending on the type and severity of the infection but may include nasal congestion, facial pain or pressure, headache, cough, thick nasal discharge (often green or yellow in color), reduced sense of smell or taste, and fatigue. In chronic sinusitis, symptoms may be milder but persist for longer periods.

Causes of sinusitis

Sinusitis can be caused by various factors, including viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, allergies, nasal polyps, or a deviated septum. Viral infections, such as the common cold or flu, are the most common cause of acute sinusitis, while bacterial infections may develop as a complication. Chronic sinusitis may result from ongoing inflammation or recurrent infections.

Treatment for sinusitis

Treatment for sinusitis aims to relieve symptoms, reduce inflammation, and treat the underlying cause of the infection. Depending on the severity and duration of symptoms, treatment options may include over-the-counter or prescription decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, saline nasal irrigation, pain relievers, and antibiotics (for bacterial sinusitis). In some cases, surgery may be necessary to improve drainage and alleviate symptoms.

Preventing sinusitis

Preventing sinusitis involves reducing exposure to known triggers, maintaining good nasal hygiene, and managing underlying conditions such as allergies or nasal polyps. Avoiding cigarette smoke, staying hydrated, using a humidifier to keep indoor air moist, and practicing proper hand hygiene can also help reduce the risk of developing sinusitis.

When to seek medical attention

While sinusitis is usually a self-limiting condition that resolves on its own, it’s essential to seek medical attention if symptoms persist for more than a 10 days, worsen over time, or are accompanied by severe pain, high fever, swelling around the eyes, or vision changes. These may indicate a more severe infection or complications that require medical evaluation and treatment.


Sinusitis is a common condition characterised by inflammation of the sinuses, often resulting from viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, allergies, or structural abnormalities. While it can cause discomfort and inconvenience, particularly when symptoms are severe or persistent, timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help alleviate symptoms and prevent complications. With proper care and management, individuals can effectively manage sinusitis and improve their quality of life.

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