Sinusitis (Sinus Infection)

Table of Contents

Image of the Sinuses


The paranasal sinuses are hollow chambers in the bones around the cheeks, nose, and eyes.  The sinuses help to filter, moisten, and warm the air that you inhale, and also allow us to make certain sounds. Nose and sinus health is important and can have larger effects on the body.


The inflammation of the paranasal sinuses is called sinusitis, and may be due to infection, allergy, or autoimmune disorders.  It causes symptoms in the nose, ears, and eyes, and can last for long periods of time if left untreated.  Our allergy clinic will perform the allergy tests that are necessary to determine if your symptoms are related to pollen allergy or allergy to dust mitesmold or animals. The tests will also help us determine if you need to see an ear, nose and throat doctor for further evaluation.

Acute sinusitis can develop as a complication several days after the first symptoms of a viral or bacterial respiratory infection.

Chronic sinusitis is most often a recurrent inflammatory disorder, but can also be caused by bacterial infection.


Sinus Nasal Congestion
  • Thick, colored, and/or profuse nasal drainage
  • Post-nasal drip, often foul-tasting
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Toothache
  • Headache
  • Facial fullness or swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Fever, occasionally
Allergy Cough

Symptoms of sinusitis can vary depending on the severity of the inflammation and the sinuses involved – all of the symptoms listed above may be present, or only a few.


viral respiratory disease (a “cold”) is the most common cause of acute sinusitis.

Allergies can also trigger sinusitis. When your sinuses are inflamed, bacteria may be allowed to linger, putting you at an increased risk of developing secondary bacterial sinusitis.

Structural abnormalities in the nose – polyps, tumors, narrow drainage pathways, or a nasal septum deviation – can also cause sinusitis.


Sometimes, symptoms of allergies can mimic sinusitis, so your NY doctor may recommend allergy testing to help identify the true cause of your symptoms. This will enable us to give you the best and most appropriate treatment.

Also, your allergist or your ear nose and throat specialist may order a sinus CBCT scan using our Minicat™ CT scanner. NYASC has the only low-radiation in-office Minicat™ CT scanner in NYC. Our scanner is used to accurately diagnose sinus conditions such as a deviated nasal septum, concha bullosa, acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis, or nasal polyps.


While many of their symptoms are similar, sinusitis and rhinitis are two different medical problems.  Rhinitis is the inflammation of the mucous membranes found in the nose – not the sinuses.  However, poorly-controlled rhinitis can easily lead to sinusitis.


There are several over-the-counter medications and treatments that may help relieve your symptoms.  In many cases, these products are sufficient to help you recover from sinusitis or a sinus infection.  In severe cases and in cases where a bacterial infection is suspected, your allergist may recommend antibiotics.

For patients with structural abnormalities in their sinuses, surgery may be recommended to correct the structural problems and possibly prevent future symptoms. This type of surgery is performed by an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT).

If you are diagnosed with allergies, your allergist at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers can recommend medications to control your allergy symptoms, reducing the likelihood that you will develop any future infections.  People with allergies or sinus problems should try to avoid airborne irritants like strong chemical vapors and tobacco smoke because they can exacerbate your symptoms.

Patients with sinusitis can have multiple factors that predispose them to infection.  In these cases, concentrating on only one factor (just your allergies, for example) may not completely resolve the problem.  Treatment options are best discussed on an individual basis and with an allergy doctor in NYC.

Sinus infections often are often misdiagnosed as tooth pain, resulting in extractions of back teeth, which are located below the maxillary sinus. A sinus lift is a procedure to augment the bone to lift the sinuses. An alternative option to replace missing back teeth is a graftless zygoma implant which will use the cheekbone to support the dental implant bridge. Often times, the implants can be placed and within the same day the prosthesis can be created as a procedure called Teeth in a Day or Smile in a Day where and immediate load restoration is placed over the dental implants without any bone grafting.

If you are experiencing vague tooth pain, it is very important to see a dental implant specialist (or implant dentist) AND an allergy specialist to be sure of the root cause before taking action.

Sinusitis Frequently Asked Questions

Can Sinus Infections Cause Toothaches?

A sinus infection can cause a toothache in teeth close to the sinuses, like the upper rear teeth. Pain in the upper teeth is a common symptom with sinus conditions. However, be sure to consult with your dentist to be sure that your toothache isn’t a result of other problems.

Does Sinusitis Cause Fevers?

In some cases, you may develop a fever with sinusitis. Talk to one of our allergists about how you can relieve symptoms of sinusitis, including a fever.

How Do I Know If I Have Sinusitis?

If you experience thick nasal drainage, facial fullness, and congestion, you may have sinusitis. One of our allergists can determine if you have sinusitis by completing a quick assessment and a CBCT scan if necessary.

How Is Sinusitis Treated?

Acute sinusitis usually resolves on its own. However, your doctor may recommend treatments to help relieve your symptoms including nasal sprays, decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, and antibiotics. For chronic sinusitis, it’s essential to determine what’s causing your recurrent condition such as allergies. In this case, treating your allergies will help prevent sinusitis from recurring.

Is Sinusitis Contagious?

Sinus infections caused by bacteria or allergies are not contagious. If your sinusitis is caused by a virus, then it may be contagious. Viruses can be spread through coughing or sneezing.

Is Sinusitis the Same As A Sinus Infection?

Sinusitis is the medical term for a sinus infection. Sinusitis can be acute or chronic, meaning short term or long term.

Which Antibiotics Treat Sinusitis?

Many doctors prescribe amoxicillin to treat sinusitis. However, you may not need antibiotics for treatment. Discuss your treatment plan with one of our specialists.

Which Virus Causes Sinusitis?

Rhinoviruses, influenza viruses, and parainfluenza viruses are the most common causes of sinusitis. Most viral sinus infections come from developing a cold.

Who Is At Risk Of Getting A Sinus Infection?

You may be at increased risk of getting a sinus infection if you have allergies or other conditions that affect your sinuses. Treat your allergic conditions at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers to reduce your risk of developing sinusitis.

Why Does My Sinusitis Keep Coming Back?

If you get recurring sinus infections, you may have a deeper medical condition. Problems with the physical structure of your sinuses such as nasal polyps, narrow sinuses, or a deviated septum can cause recurring sinus infections. Also, untreated allergies may cause sinus infections.


If you would like us to evaluate your sinusitis, the allergy specialists & doctors at NYASC are here to help.  We have the latest treatments and testing, & we have convenient allergy and asthma clinics throughout the NYC metropolitan area: Murray HillMidtownUpper West SideChelsea, and Queens.   Also, we will help you find relief for any nasal and sinus problemsasthma, ear, nose, and throat (ENT) symptoms, skin conditions, and respiratory allergies.  NYASC has pediatric and adult patients from all around the NYC area, including Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, and Manhattan. To make an appt, call NY Allergy & Sinus Centers at 212-686-4448.