Acute Sinusitis

What is Acute Sinusitis?

It is a type of Sinusitis that generally starts with an upper respiratory tract infection or some kind of fungal infection in the body.

There are two types of Sinusitis:

Chronic Sinusitis

This lasts for a long duration and comes back frequently.

Acute Sinusitis

It lasts for three weeks or less and arises for not more than three times every year. This is a highly common condition and affects approximately 14% of the population in the United States per year.

Acute Sinusitis ICD 9 Code

The ICD 9 Code for Acute Sinusitis is 461.

Acute Sinusitis Types

There are four types of Acute Sinusitis (AS).

Acute Frontal Sinusitis

This affects the rear part of the forehead and gives rise to painful symptoms in the forehead. The pain worsens when patients are lying on their back.

Acute Ethmoid Sinusitis

It arises behind the nose-bridge and causes discomforts like

  • Pain between the eyes
  • Loss of smell
  • Eyelid inflammation
  • Pain while touching the slopes of the nose

Acute Sphenoid Sinusitis

It affects the region behind the eyes and can give rise to problems like

  • Earaches
  • Neck pain
  • Deep pain behind the forehead
  • Pain at the top of the head

Acute Maxillary Sinusitis

It arises behind the cheeks and results in painful symptoms. Some common Acute Maxillary Sinusitis symptoms are

  • Pain in the cheeks
  • Pain under eyes
  • Pain in upper teeth
  • Jaw ache

Acute Sinusitis Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms of Acute Sinusitis include

  • Facial pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Thick green discharge from the nose

Certain symptoms of this condition depend upon which sinus has become swollen.

When is Sinusitis Acute?

The sinus linings comprise of cells with tiny hairs known as Cilia on their surfaces. Mucus produced from other cells in the lining traps pollutants and germs. The cilia push out the mucus into the nose through narrow openings of the sinus.

When the sinuses get infected or inflamed, the mucus gets thick and blocks the apertures of one or more sinuses. This leads to a fluid accumulation inside the sinuses, resulting in enhanced pressure. Infection of the lining may also occur due to entrapment and multiplication of bacteria. This is known as Sinusitis. Acute Sinusitis is usually a result of Upper Respiratory Viral Infection.

Acute Sinusitis Causes

This condition primarily arises due to infection or inflammation of the sinuses. Sinuses are spaces behind the upper face bones that are filled with air. These can be found in the region between the eyes and behind the forehead, nose and cheeks.

Some factors that can act as triggers for the inflammation and infection of the sinus lining can be:

  • Allergies
  • Air pollution
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Dental infections
  • Viral infections, like common cold
  • Narrowed nasal passages due to the presence of nasal polyps

Acute Sinusitis Treatment

Many cases of sinus infection improve without any treatment. However, use of medications can help speed up recovery and lower the chance of the infection becoming chronic.

Some medications used for Acute Sinusitis treatment are


Sinus infections are often triggered by congestion. Decongestants can unblock the sinuses and let them drain. Some of the popular over-the-counter decongestants are:

  • Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
  • Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE and Neo-Synephrine)
  • Oxymetazoline (Dristan and Afrin)

These can be used alone or along with other medicines in remedying multi-symptom cold and sinus problems. Insomnia, jitteriness and high pulse rate are some of the possible side effects of use of this medication. Those suffering from heart conditions and high blood pressure should not use it or use only after a consultation with their doctor. Furthermore, using a nasal decongestant for over three days can worsen the symptoms when you stop using the medication. This is known as “Rebound effect”.


Antibiotic treatment is not required for curing all cases of Acute Sinusitis. Antibiotics are usually prescribed for individuals suspected of having this condition due to a bacterial infection. Congestion, nasal stuffiness and thick green or yellow discharge are some common Acute Bacterial Sinusitis symptoms. Antibiotics relieve these symptoms and control infection by destroying bacteria. Once you start an antibiotic course, complete it entirely until the infection has completely subsided.

However, antibiotics used for acute bacterial sinusitis treatment can give rise to discomforting side effects like skin rashes and diarrhea and also produce allergic reactions. Moreover, overuse of antibiotics ultimately results in the spread of bacteria that are not destroyed anymore by common antibiotics. You should consult your doctor regarding the type of antibiotic that is appropriate for you.


These medications help relieve the nasal allergy symptoms that result in infections and inflammation. Some popular over-the-counter antihistamines include

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
  • loratadine (Claritin)

Cetrizine (Zyrtec) and Fexofenadine (Allegra) are prescription drugs available for AS cure. Some doctors, however, advise against using antihistamines for curing a sinus infection as they can slow down the drainage process and lead to excessive drying.


Acute Fungal Sinusitis (AFS), resulting from a fungal infection of the sinuses, can be cured with the aid of surgical as well as medical means. In such cases, the aim of Acute Sinusitis surgery is to decrease the fungal mucin in the sinuses.

Acute Sinusitis Home Remedies

Some of the main home remedies for Acute Sinusitis are:


If you are suffering from this condition, try to get as much rest as possible. This will help the immune system fight infection and help you make a quicker recovery.

High fluid intake

Drink lots of fluids, particularly water and juice. This will help in promoting drainage and diluting mucus secretions. Avoid drinking beverages rich in caffeine and alcohol, as these cause dehydration and also worsen inflammation of the sinus lining.

Inhale steam

Warm a bowl of water. Put your face over the bowl and drape a towel over your head. Breathe in the steam arising from the hot water bowl. The hot, moist water will help the mucus drain away and relieve your pain.

Is Acute Sinusitis Contagious?

No, much like Chronic Sinusitis, this condition is non-contagious. However, one may contract the allergies or common cold that can result in an Acute Sinusitis. The disorder has, however, been reported to break out in swimmers in pools though it may arise more due to transmission of the causative factors than the disease itself.

Most cases of Acute Sinus Infection respond to cure or improve naturally within three weeks. Infections that persist more than three weeks are termed as Chronic Sinusitis. Get in touch with a doctor if you experience facial pain and other symptoms similar to that of this condition for more than a week. Early treatment will help you make a faster recovery and get back to good health as soon as possible.


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