Allergy and Sinus

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What is acute sinusitis?

A stuffed nose and pressure on our cheekbones, near the eyes, or over the forehead may mean that you have acute sinusitis.

Acute sinusitis, also called acute rhinosinusitis, is a short-term inflammation of the membranes that line your nose and surrounding sinuses. This impedes your ability to drain mucus from your nose and sinuses.

Acute sinusitis is most commonly due to a cold causing viral infection. However, it can be due to noninfectious causes as well. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, acute sinusitis is common. It affects around 1 in 8 adults per year.

Illnesses and conditions that can cause or lead to acute sinusitis include:

An infected tooth could also cause acute sinusitis. In rare cases, bacteria can spread from the infected tooth to the sinuses.


The following factors can increase your risk of developing acute sinusitis:

  • intranasal allergies
  • nasal passage abnormalities, such as a deviated septum or nasal polyp
  • tobacco smoking or frequent breathing in of other pollutants
  • large or inflamed adenoids
  • spending a lot of time in a day care, preschool, or other areas where infectious germs are frequently present
  • activities that result in pressure changes, such as flying and scuba diving
  • a weakened immune system
  • cystic fibrosis

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