The Asthma Center

Symptoms of acute sinusitis

The early symptoms of acute sinusitis often include an abrupt onset of nasal congestion and clear nasal discharge. These symptoms typically last for several days. When normal mucociliary clearance is blocked, secretions collect in the sinuses. This environment provides an excellent site of growth for microorganisms. The moisture, warmth and nutrients in retained mucus allow the multiplication of bacteria and viruses. Mucociliary clearance may also be decreased or blocked by nasal polyps, foreign objects in the nose, thick mucus, or decreased ciliary function. Bacterial infection is suspected when cold-like symptoms do not resolve within 7 - 10 days. Another sign of bacterial infection is the worsening of symptoms after 4 - 5 days. Other common symptoms of acute sinusitis may be present. These include: thickened or discolored nasal or post nasal discharge, facial pressure or pain, headache, decreased sense of smell, dental pain, sore throat, hoarseness, ear pressure, cough, fever, fatigue and/or bad breath.

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis

  • Nasal blockage or congestion
  • Ear pain, pressure, or fullness
  • Discolored post nasal drip
  • Cough
  • Discolored nasal secretions
  • Fever - low grade (less than 100°F)
  • Facial pressure, pain, or headache
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased or absent sense of smell
  • Bad breath
  • Dental pain
  • Sore throat or hoarseness
  • Dark circles and/or swelling around the eyes