In most cases, sinusitis is an inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. The official name is maxillary sinusitis (maxilla = upper jaw). This is colloquially called sinusitis. This is actually incorrect, because this would be an inflammation in the hollow of the forehead, which is extremely rare. Children under the age of 8 don’t even have a sinus. Maxillary sinusitis is a harmless condition that often lasts no longer than seven to ten days, and usually does not cause any complications.


Viruses are usually the cause of all complaints. This usually concerns an upper respiratory infection, in which the nasal cavities are also affected. Especially in children, it is difficult to diagnose an upper respiratory infection or sinusitis because the cavities have not yet fully developed.

Many people think that sinusitis is the cause of:

  • smoking
  • allergy
  • working conditions
  • stress
  • swimming
  • to fly
  • to dive
  • march
  • air pollution
  • chronic rhinitis
  • a crooked nasal septum
  • dental infections
  • chronic use of nasal drops.

But none of this has been proven. It has been shown that smoking can delay healing.

If at least three or more of the following symptoms are present, the patient probably has sinusitis:

  • previous flu or cold
  • colored snot
  • (one-sided) pain in the upper jaw
  • pain when chewing or pain in the molars
  • increase in complaints when bending forward


Complaints of sinusitis can also resemble:

  • a cold > sneezing, non-colored snot, headache mainly above both eyes
  • allergy > itching in the nose, palate or eyes, sneezing fits, non-colored snot,
  • sensitive mucous membranes > sneezing fits without cause, complaints from smoke, tiredness, inability to withstand strong sunlight
  • muscle tension headache > often a double-sided headache without a cold, often with neck and shoulder complaints



If complications arise, such as developing a high fever or feeling seriously ill, there is a good chance that it is a sinus infection with complications. It is then wise to visit a doctor. Even if the complaints are serious and last longer than five days, the patient could consult a doctor about what he can best do. The effectiveness of antibiotics for sinusitis has not been sufficiently demonstrated, which is why antibiotics are only prescribed if it is a serious sinusitis.


Sinusitis usually resolves spontaneously after about a week to ten days. In children, healing often takes a little longer. Because it heals spontaneously, treatment is usually based solely on alleviating the complaints.
No measure to alleviate the complaints has yet been proven to actually work. But what patients indicate they like about sinusitis is:

  • steam, 3 times a day for fifteen minutes
  • use nose drops or spray, this will relieve some of the congested feeling
  • paracetamol


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  • Nasal and sinus infections
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