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cartoon elephant sitting on person’s face
Credit: NIAID

Your nose is stuffy. You have thick, yellowish mucus. You’re coughing, and you feel tired and achy. You think that you have a cold. You take medicines to relieve your symptoms, but they don’t help. When you also get a terrible headache, you finally drag yourself to the doctor. After listening to your history of symptoms and examining your face and forehead, the doctor says you have sinusitis.

What Is Sinusitis?

"Sinusitis" simply means your sinuses are inflamed―red and swollen―because of an infection or another problem. There are several types of sinusitis. Health experts usually identify them as follows:

  • Acute, which lasts up to four weeks
  • Subacute, which lasts 4 to 12 weeks
  • Chronic, which lasts more than 12 weeks and can continue for months or even years
  • Recurrent, with several attacks within a year

In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 30 million adults were diagnosed with sinusitis. Women were almost twice as likely as men to receive the diagnosis, and there were more cases in the southern United States than elsewhere in the country.

Click on the links below to find out more:

View the Sinusitis fact sheet (PDF)

Last Updated April 03, 2012

Last Reviewed March 09, 2011