Overview of Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining of the sinuses, which are the four pairs of air cavities on either side of your face. The sinuses lie behind the cheekbones, above the eyes, between the eyes and the bridge of the nose, and on either side of the top of the nose. Sinusitis can be caused by bacterial infections or viral infections. A bacterial sinus infection can be a complication of a viral "cold" that does not get better after several days. 

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain or pressure in the face (forehead, cheeks or between the eyes)
  • Green to yellow nasal drainage
  • Headache
  • Increased head pain with bending over
  • Pain around the upper teeth
  • Fever 


  • Frequent hand washing
  • Drinking plenty of clear liquids
  • Saline nose spray
  • Humidifier or hot shower 


  • Clear the nasal passage using saline nose drops to help or steam inhalation (from a hot shower)
  • Decongestants
  • Tylenol or Advil for headache discomfort
  • Warm compresses over sinuses
  • Antibiotics are usually not prescribed until symptoms consistent with a bacterial infection have been present for at least 10-14 days or if severe symptoms such as fever, facial pain or swelling around the eyes.
  • If symptoms are due to allergies, antihistamines and/or anti-inflammatory nasal sprays may be helpful; or nasal decongestants. 

How We Can Help

  • If you would like to be seen by our medical staff, please contact our Appointment Desk to schedule an appointment.
  • Also, our Advice Nurse service is available at no charge for all UC Davis students to discuss health concerns and the need for medical care.



  • Sinusitis (American Academy of Family Physicians)