ZocdocAnswersWhat is the difference between sinusitis and a sinus infection?

Question

What is the difference between sinusitis and a sinus infection?

IS there a difference? I have a sinus infection but is it sinusitis?

Answer

Sinusitis is an infection involving the paranasal sinuses. The suffix '-itis' one we usually use to mean infection or inflammation of a particular area. If you have a sinus infection, you should speak with your primary physician to discuss the need for antibiotics. We have many sinuses including the maxillary sinuses which are the sinuses in your cheeks; the ethmoid sinuses which are the sinuses by your eyes; the sphenoid sinuses which are in the back of your nose and close to your brain; and the frontal sinuses which are the sinuses that are in your forehead. Patients that have sinusitis experience facial pressure, green/yellow discharge from the nose, fever, fatigue and congestion. It is usually diagnosed by symptoms and physical exam. Sometimes a telescope can be used to examine the sinuses and can be used to help take a culture so you know exactly what bacteria has caused the infection and antibiotics can be tailored appropriately. If you think you have a sinus infection you should see your primary physician. You should be seen so that you can be started on antibiotics so that a complication from the sinus infection does not occur. If you continue to have problems with recurrent sinus infections you may require sinus surgery.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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