Symptoms of sinusitis 

The initial symptoms of a sinus infection are a green or yellow mucus discharge from your nose and severe facial pain around your cheeks, eyes or forehead.

Sinusitis usually occurs after an upper respiratory tract infection, such as a cold or the flu. It's often quite mild and clears up within 12 weeks.

You may also experience a high temperature and toothache if you have sinusitis.

Long-term sinusitis

A sinus infection that lasts longer than 12 weeks is known as chronic sinusitis.

Chronic sinusitis can occur as a result of a secondary bacterial infection or an underlying allergy. This can cause the membranes lining the nose and sinuses to become inflamed.

Common symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:

  • a blocked nose
  • a runny nose
  • a sinus headache
  • facial pain
  • a reduced sense of smell
  • bad breath (halitosis)


Children with sinusitis may be irritable, breathe through their mouth and have difficulty feeding. Their speech may sound nasal (like they have a stuffy cold) because their sinuses are blocked.

Take your child to see your GP if you notice these symptoms.

Page last reviewed: 09/07/2013

Next review due: 09/07/2015