Sinus Infection Symptoms – How to Identify and Classify Them

Acute Sinus Infection Symptoms (Sudden Onset)

Sinus infection Symptoms vary somewhat, depending on the type of sinus and whether the infections are acute or chronic.

The most common type of sinus develops in the largest sinus cavities in the skull, and those are situated in the cheekbones. Typical symptoms are as follows:

Maxillary Sinusitis (in the cheekbones)

  • Red or swollen cheeks that feel tender when touched.
  • Painful upper jaw and aching teeth.
  • Pressure headache focused across one or both cheeks and below the eyes.
  • Prolific nasal discharge with occasional plugs of thick yellow or green mucous.
  • Post-nasal drip (down the back of the throat), sometimes accompanied by a sore throat.
  • Bad breath.
  • Low-grade fever is fairly common.
  • Pain and pressure is worse when upright or bending forward and better when lying down.

Frontal Sinusitis (in the forehead)

  • Severe pressure sinus headache in the brow area on one or both sides.
  • Thick yellow or green tinged nasal discharge.
  • Post-nasal drip, occasional sore throat.
  • Bad breath.
  • Pain eases when upright and intensifies when lying down.
  • Low-grade fever is common.

Sphenoid Sinusitis (behind the eyes)

  • A cap of dull, deep pain that seems to encircle the head, starting at the back and continuing round to just behind the eyes. Pain in the top of the skull.
  • Double vision, tunnel vision, bright flashes, eyesight goes in and out of focus and other disturbances may be experienced. These indicate that sinus pressure extends to the membranes lining the brain (a rare and dangerous condition).
  • Thick nasal discharge with plugs of yellow or green mucous.
  • Post-nasal drip, occasional sore throat.
  • Bad breath.
  • Pain intensifies when lying on the back or bending forward.
  • Low-grade fever is common.

Ethmoid Sinusitis (between the eyes, just above the bridge of the nose)

  • Pressurized pain in the corners of the eyes close to the tear ducts, or down one or both sides of the nose.
  • Pressure headache in one or both temples.
  • Sinus congestion with occasional prolific nasal discharge containing yellow or green plugs of mucous.
  • Post-nasal drip, sore throat.
  • Bad breath.
  • Pressurized pain intensifies when coughing, sneezing or lying on the back, and eases when standing or sitting with the head upright.
  • Loss of smell can occur.
  • Low-grade fever is common.

Please Note: Acute sinusitis is considered to be an infectious disease.

Do not Underestimate the Dangers of Sinusitis

On rare occasions infection could spread to the meninges surrounding the brain and sometimes right into the facial bones themselves. The infection can also cause an abscess to develop in the eye socket, facial bone or brain.

Sinus infection symptoms related to the eye socket can start with swollen or droopy eyelids, fixed dilated pupils, inability to move the eyes and vision problems. These complications are associated with ethmoid sinusitis.

A person experiencing any of the above would become totally incapacitated and dangerously ill.

Immediate hospitalization and specialized care would be essential; these conditions could lead to permanent blindness, coma and even death.

Chronic Sinusitis Symptoms (Long-lasting and Recurrent)

The cause of repetitive sinus attacks is largely unknown. However, careful observation has shown that the condition often occurs in people suffering from asthma.

If this turns out to be a major cause of chronic episodes, then one must assume that the reason for many attacks could logically be traced back to either allergic reaction or to fungicidal causes. This argument is supported by the fact that most asthma sufferers have allergies.

Maxillary Sinusitis

  • Dull pressurized pain below the eye.
  • Pain increases with allergic reactions, colds or ‘flu.
  • Dull, aching toothache in the upper jaw, (known as “sinus toothache”).
  • Discomfort builds up during the day and culminates in nighttime coughing.

Frontal Sinusitis

  • Persistent low-grade sinus pressure headache in the brow area.
    This is a sign of abnormal anatomic variations inside the nose, such as a deviated septum that restricts the nasal passages.

Ethmoid Sinusitis

  • Congestion.
  • Chronic nasal discharge.
  • Persistent background pain across the bridge of the nose.
  • Pain on bridge of nose intensifies when wearing eyeglasses.
  • Post-nasal drip.
  • Chronic sore throat.
  • Bad breath.
  • Pain worse in the late morning.

Sphenoid Sinusitis

    Continuous low-grade headache in most patients.

Unlike the acute variety, chronic sinusitis is not considered to be infectious.