How Long Does Sinusitis Last For?

How Long Does Sinusitis Last For

Sinuses are air-filled pockets near the nose, typically filled with air. Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, occurs when these sinuses become infected, leading to inflammation of the sinus lining and mucus. 

It involves fluid buildup in nasal cavities, caused primarily by viruses but can also result from bacterial infections. Also known as rhinosinusitis, it involves inflammation in the small openings of the skull, known as nasal cavities.

Common sinus infection symptoms include:

Common symptoms of a sinus infection, or sinusitis, encompasses

  • Nasal congestion
  • Discolored mucus
  • Post-nasal drainage,
  • Facial pain or pressure, 
  • Reduced smell and taste
  • Tooth pain
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Cough
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Thick, discolored mucus
  • Post-nasal drip, and
  • Eearache
  • Fatigue
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Diminished sense of taste and smell

Types of Sinusitis

  • Acute Sinusitis
  • Subacute Sinusitis
  • Chronic Sinusitis
  • Recurring Sinusitis

Causes of Sinusitis

Some of the causes include:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses 
  • Fungi
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Abnormal Nasal Structures
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Dental Infection
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Weakened Immune System

How long do sinus infections last?

The length of a sinus infection varies by type. Acute sinusitis often clears up in under four weeks, with symptom improvement within ten days for most individuals.

 In contrast, chronic sinusitis may last beyond 12 weeks, particularly if recurrent three-month-long infections require additional considerations.

Sinusitis Treatment

Some of the treatments used are:

Medical Therapy

For bacterial sinusitis, antibiotics are commonly prescribed by ENT specialists. Nasal sprays for sinus infections, especially steroids, can help drain mucus and reduce sinus swelling. 

It’s crucial to know that not all nasal sprays function the same way, and their effectiveness depends on the specific cause of sinusitis.

Allergy Management

For sinusitis caused by allergies, effective long-term management involves allergy immunotherapy. This treatment, through shots or drops, reduces sensitivity to allergens and minimizes allergic reactions.

Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty inserts a tiny balloon into the sinuses, restructuring blocked passages. A saline solution is then used to clear and drain the sinuses, restoring normal drainage and relieving sinusitis symptoms.

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (ESS)

An endoscope is used to remove sinus blockages. This provides a clear view and allows the specialist to address sinus openings, aiming to improve drainage, relieve sinusitis symptoms, and reduce the frequency and severity of infections.

Traditional Instrumentation

Traditional sinus instrumentation surgery widens openings by removing tissue and bone for better drainage. 

An implant may be inserted. The implant shrinks nasal polyps, reducing obstruction by releasing anti-inflammatory medication over 90 days. It’s fired at the end of this period or earlier based on your ENT specialist’s discretion.


Untreated sinus infections can cause serious complications, including chronic sinusitis, breathing difficulties, reduced or complete loss of smell, laryngitis, lacrimal gland inflammation, eye inflammation or abscess, meningitis, brain abscess, frontal bone infection, and cavernous sinus thrombosis.

Sinusitis can impact the eyes due to their proximity. Inflammation can spread, causing symptoms like eye pain, redness, swelling, and blurred vision. Severe complications are rare but possible. Prompt medical attention is crucial to prevent infection spread and address eye-related symptoms.

Sinus and ear infections often share symptoms that are confusing. Sinusitis can cause nasal congestion and inflammation, impacting the Eustachian tubes connecting the ears and nose. This connection may lead to earache during a sinus infection. Distinguishing between the two i.e sinus infection vs ear infection is crucial, as treatments for sinusitis may not address an ear infection effectively.

Sinusitis can reduce the sense of taste by affecting the olfactory nerves tied to smell. Inflammation and nasal congestion impact these nerves, leading to a temporary loss of flavor. As sinusitis clears and congestion lessens, taste typically returns to normal.

Sinusitis can be linked to tinnitus or ringing in the ears. The duration varies, with some experiencing relief after treating sinusitis, while others may need further evaluation by an ENT specialist if tinnitus persists.

The efficacy of antibiotics in addressing a sinus infection can differ. While some individuals may begin feeling relief within a few days of antibiotic treatment, finishing the entire prescribed course is essential, even if symptoms improve sooner. 

You may find that swimmer’s sinusitis lasts three to seven days. However, you may find that some of your symptoms, like a runny nose, only last 12 to 24 hours.

Sinusitis and tonsillitis are separate conditions, but they can be linked. Both involve inflammation and infection in the upper respiratory system. Sinusitis affects the sinuses, while tonsillitis involves inflammation of the tonsils in the throat.

Although sinusitis doesn’t directly cause tonsillitis, they can share common causes like viral or bacterial infections. 

Consult Dr. Peter Baptista for Sinusitis treatment in Dubai

Dr. Peter Baptista is an experienced ENT physician focusing on sleep apnea treatment. With three decades of expertise, he employs innovative procedures to address various ear, nose, and throat conditions. 

Dr. Peter tailors effective treatment plans to ensure lasting relief from sinus infections to meet your unique needs.

Book your appointment today!

Dr. Peter Baptista

 Dr Peter Baptista Jardin

European Board Certified ENT Doctor In Dubai

Dr. Peter Baptista Jardin is an ENT specialist with a special interest in treating sleep apnea. He is a revered expert in Spain for performing the first ever robotic transoral surgery in 2011, and the only series of hypoglossal nerve stimulation proved revolutionary for obstructive sleep apnea treatment worldwide. He currently serves as an ENT doctor in Dubai’s Al Zahra Hospital.