Sinusitis symptoms and treatment. Treat nasal congestion at Peak Pharmacy | Pharmacy First
This is an NHS-funded service.

What is Sinusitis?

Sinuses are small air-filled cavities behind your forehead and cheekbones.

Mucus produced by your sinuses usually drained into your nose through small channels.

Sinusitis is a common condition in which the lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed, blocking the channels and preventing mucus draining away. It is usually caused by a viral infection and often improves within two or three weeks.

What are the symptoms of Sinusitis?

Sinusitis usually occurs after an upper respiratory tract infection, such as a cold. If you have a persistent cold and show the symptoms below, you may have sinusitis.

Symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Blocked nose
  • Green or yellow discharge from your nose
  • Pain and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead
  • A high temperature (fever) of 38oC or more
  • Sinus headache
  • Toothache
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Bad breath.

Children with sinusitis may breathe through their mouth, be irritable and have difficulty feeding. Their speech may also sound nasal (as though they have a stuffy cold).

Sinusitis often clears up within a few weeks (acute sinusitis) without treatment. Occasionally symptoms can last three months or more (chronic sinusitis).

What can I do to relieve these symptoms?

You can help relieve your symptoms by:

  • Taking over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Using nasal decongestants – but for no more than a week, as this might make things worse
  • Holding warm packs to your face
  • Cleaning the inside of your nose with a saline solution.

When should I seek help?

If your symptoms aren’t improving after ten days or are getting worse, you may benefit from a course of antibiotics or using a corticosteroid spray.

How can Peak Pharmacy help?

Our Pharmacists can help people aged 12 and over.

They will ask you about your medical history and other symptoms to exclude other conditions or complications that need urgent referral to your GP or other sources of help.

They may recommend pain relief and products you can buy over the counter, as above. If your symptoms suggest further treatment is needed our Pharmacists can supply you with a corticosteroid nasal spray.

If appropriate, our Pharmacists can provide a course of antibiotics.

What if I am aged under 12?

If you are younger than 12 years of age we are unable to offer this service to you. Our Pharmacists, or members of the Pharmacy Team, can give self-care advice or refer you to your GP as appropriate.

* Our online consultations are carried out by one of our Pharmacists.