Frequently Asked Questions > General ENT Questions > What is sinusitis?

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Sinusitis is infection of the sinuses. Sinuses are bony cavities lined by a very thin membrane that normally produces mucus and other cells in the membrane have cilia or hair cells that move the mucus out of the sinus to keep it clear and clean. The opening to the sinus is typically narrow. An infection, “sinusitis”, occurs when a  bacteria causes swelling of the membrane, blockage of the sinus opening and then further swelling of the lining in the sinus. It can become so swollen that the entire cavity can be filled with the thickened lining and infected fluid. Typically, a viral upper respiratory infection does not result in significant swelling of the sinus lining and is self limited (does not require antibiotics). If a viral infection in the nose causes enough swelling of the drainage opening to the sinuses, a bacterial sinus infection can occur.

Last updated on February 13, 2010 by Web Manager