Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Can a sinus infection grow into something worse?"

ZocdocAnswersCan a sinus infection grow into something worse?


I have had a sinus infection for 3 weeks. I am a 29 year old woman. Can it have developed into something else?


This is a question that we get asked frequently in the ENT office. Let me point out a few things about sinusitis that most people know. First of all the overwhelmingly most common cause of sinusitis is viral. This means that antibiotics shouldn't really help. There aren't any great medications out there to help fight viruses (at least "colds"), so most of the time the best thing to do is "supportive care" (i.e. hydration, sleep, etc). For this reason many ENT's (ears nose throat) won't even treat a sinus infection with antibiotics until it has been present for at least 2 weeks. This is of course not the case if you have a history of chronic rhinosinusitis, or some other comorbidity that necessitates more prompt treatment with antibiotics. To really answer your questions adequately it would be ideal to take a thorough history and examine you, including looking at your sinuses all of which will be done at your ENT visit. The short answer to your question is that absolutely there are bad complications of sinusitis that can occur, however they are uncommon in an otherwise healthy individual who doesn't have a significant history of sinusitis, surgery, etc. The safest thing is to get checked out by an ENT. Best of luck.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.