Sinus infection

Alternative names
Sinusitis; Acute sinusitis; Sinus infection; Sinusitis - acute

Definition

Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the sinuses. This is generally caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection.

The sinuses are air-filled spaces around the forehead, cheeks, and eyes that are lined with mucous membranes. Healthy sinuses are sterile (meaning that they contain no bacteria or other organisms) and open, allowing mucus to drain and air to circulate.

When inflamed, the sinuses become blocked with mucus and can become infected. Each year, over 30 million adults and children get sinusitis.

Sinusitis can be acute (lasting anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks) or chronic, with symptoms lingering much longer.

see Sinusitis

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Armen E. Martirosyan, M.D.

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