Flu complication: Sinusitis

Why it occurs (1)(2)(3)

Sinusitis is when the lining of your sinuses – the cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead – become inflamed.

Sinusitis is usually the result of a cold or flu virus spreading to your sinuses.

The channels that drain the mucus produced by your sinuses into your nose become blocked because the sinus linings are swollen.

You are at greater risk of sinusitis if you smoke, have cystic fibrosis or a weakened immune system.

Treatment (3)

The symptoms of sinusitis often clear up within a few weeks on their own.

To help you recover, you can take an over-the-counter painkiller (but check with your doctor if you have other conditions).

You can also use an over-the-counter decongestant nasal spray for up to a week, apply warm packs to your face and clean the inside of your nose with a salt water solution.

Impact if untreated (3)

If your condition is severe, gets worse or doesn't improve (chronic sinusitis), you may need additional treatment from your doctor or a hospital specialist.

Sinusitis can be difficult to treat, and it may be several months before you are feeling better.