Nose infections spread to the sinus cavities causing a condition called sinusitis. More than 35 million Americans have chronic sinus infections every year, resulting in 645,000 emergency room visits, making nose infections more common than arthritis and high blood pressure.
The sinus cavities are open spaces lined with soft, spongy tissue located inside your nose, on either side of your nose, and above the bridge of the nose in the forehead. Infections in these regions produce mucus, which drains through the nose or backward into the throat.
Sinus infections may last three weeks if the infection is acute, three to eight weeks if the infection is chronic, or even over a period of months or years in more severe cases. Recurrent infections consist of multiple infections during a 1-year period.
Sinus infections cause thickening of the mucus and swelling of the sinus lining, slowing down normal sinus drainage and causing congestion. Other effects may include facial pressure, a green or yellow discharge, high fever, chronic postnasal drip, chronic cough and chronic sore throat.
Infections within the nose and sinuses are caused when fungi, bacteria or viruses inflame the mucous membranes in the sinus cavities, resulting in sinusitis.
Sinus infections are treated using antihistamines, antibiotics, decongestants and/or nasal steroids. If these treatments are ineffective, sinus surgery may be necessary.