Helpful information provided by the Department of Emergency Medicine
You have an acute (sudden) sinus infection. This is called sinusitis. It is frequently caused by a virus;
antibiotics usually will not speed recovery.
These infections commonly result from obstruction of the openings that drain your sinuses. Sinuses are air
pockets within the bones of your face. This blockage results in your sinuses' inability to drain. This leads to
infection. If the sinusitis is prolonged it can turn into a bacterial infection and your doctor may have written
for an antibiotic in this case.
There will be different areas of pain depending on which sinuses have become infected. The infected sinus
may have overlying areas of pain. The maxillary sinuses often produce pain beneath the eyes. Frontal
sinusitis causes pain in the middle of the forehead and above the eyes. Other symptoms (problems) are
back upper toothaches and purulent (colored, pus-like) discharge from the nose. Any inflammation
(soreness), warmth, or tenderness over these same areas are signs of infection.
You may also have been given a decongestant. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or diphenhydramine
(Benadryl) are effective to relieve nasal congestion, and can help reduce sinus pressure and pain. X-rays
sometimes are taken of sinuses, but are not usually necessary.
Take ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®), acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or both if you develop chills or fever. Ask
your caregiver about over-the-counter medications you may be taking and if you should continue them.
Should you develop other problems not relieved by your medications, see your caregiver or visit
the Emergency Department.