Chronis sinusitis is inflammation in your sinuses or a sinus infection, with symptoms that don’t go away within 12 weeks. Symptoms include facial pain, post-nasal drip and thick yellow or green mucus in your nose. Treatments may vary depending on your situation.
Chronic sinusitis is long-lasting swelling or infection in your sinuses. Unlike acute sinusitis, which typically goes away within 10 days, chronic sinusitis may last 12 weeks or more. Healthcare providers can help cure it, but you may need several different kinds of treatment to make it go away for good.
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If you have chronic sinusitis, you may feel:
Your sinuses are lined with tissue. They also make mucus that keeps the inside of your nose moist and takes care of debris that air might move into your nose, like bacteria, viruses and dust-carrying allergens. In chronic sinusitis, your sinus tissues swell, sometimes trapping mucus so it can’t flow from your nose as it should. (You have several sinuses, and swelling may affect one or more of them.)
Chronic sinusitis may happen because you have:
If you have asthma or allergies, you’re more likely to develop chronic sinusitis because your airways are more likely to become inflamed or irritated, making your sinus tissue swell.
If sinus infection symptoms last 12 weeks or more, healthcare providers may determine that you have chronic sinusitis. They may do the following tests:
Chronic sinusitis treatment focuses on controlling or easing inflammation. That’s because most chronic sinusitis happens when something irritates your sinuses. But treatments may vary depending on your situation. Your provider may prescribe:
You may be able to prevent infections and chronic sinusitis if you:
Yes, it can, depending on the cause. For example, if nasal polyps cause chronic sinusitis, removing the polyps could cure the condition.
If you’ve had sinusitis symptoms for weeks, it’s time to contact a healthcare provider. Sinusitis symptoms include thick green or yellow mucus from your nose, or it hurts when you put gentle pressure on your nose, forehead or around your eyes.
You may want to ask the following questions:
Chronic sinusitis is different from recurrent sinusitis because chronic sinusitis symptoms don’t go away for long periods of time. In recurrent sinusitis, you have four or more bouts of sinusitis in one year, but you also have symptom-free periods in between.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Chronis sinusitis isn’t a serious illness, but it can make you feel miserable. You may feel like you’re dragging yourself through your daily activities and exhausted because symptoms affect your sleep. You may have done your best to cope, but it’s been weeks of feeling congested, coughing and generally run down. If that’s your situation, don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare provider. They’ll find out what caused your chronic sinusitis and recommend treatment. They’ll also recommend steps you can take to ease your symptoms while you recover.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/26/2023.
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