Do you experience frequent headaches and facial pain? Is your nose often stuffy?

You may have a chronic sinus infection. The painful symptoms can drag on, leaving you feeling drained and distracted day in and day out.

Fortunately, different treatment options can help bring long-term relief.

Keep reading to discover what a chronic sinus infection is and how to treat it.

What is a Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection or sinusitis is the swelling or inflammation of the tissue lining your sinuses. The sinuses are interconnected, air-filled cavities in your skull. They’re found behind the forehead, eyes, nasal bones, and cheeks.

Healthy sinuses constantly produce and drain mucus. The mucus ensures the inside of your nose remains moist.

It also traps inhaled pollen, dust, pollutants, bacteria, and other harmful substances. The mucus then passes through your throat and into your stomach, where these substances are disposed of.

It can build up when you have allergies, a cold, or a condition that prevents mucus from draining properly. Too much mucus can block sinuses and create the perfect environment for bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other germs to thrive and cause inflammation.

A standard sinus infection, known as acute sinusitis, typically resolves in a few days.

What is a Chronic Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection is considered chronic if it lingers for 12 weeks or more. It happens when sinuses remain swollen or inflamed for an extended time.

Sinuses can become inflamed due to different reasons, including:

  • Polyps
  • Allergies
  • A deviated septum
  • Recurring respiratory infections
  • Conditions that affect the immune system, like cystic fibrosis

What are the Symptoms of a Chronic Sinus Infection?

You may experience these symptoms if you have a chronic sinus infection:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Ear pain
  • Headache
  • Toothache
  • Bad breath
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Thick green or yellow mucus
  • Decreased sense of smell and taste

Treatment Options for a Chronic Sinus Infection

Treatments for a chronic sinus infection include:


Your ENT specialist at Indianapolis Sinus Center may prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection causes your sinusitis. However, antibiotics can only help with bacterial infections as they won’t work if sinusitis is due to viruses, fungi, or other problems.

Nasal Irrigation

Also called sinus rinsing, nasal irrigation involves using a saline solution or salt water to flush out mucus. Irrigation devices like neti pots and squeeze bottles push the solution through one nostril and out the other.

Rinsing your nasal passages and sinuses can help alleviate your symptoms.


Decongestants offer fast relief from sinus discomfort. They reduce congestion by shrinking swollen membranes in your nose, making breathing easier.

Decongestants are available in liquid, nasal spray, and pill form. Avoid using decongestant drops or sprays for more than three days at a time. Otherwise, they can make your congestion worse rather than better.

Nasal Corticosteroids Sprays

Nasal sprays such as fluticasone, mometasone, and budesonide can minimize the swelling in your sinus membranes and improve the symptoms of chronic sinusitis.


Over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen, acetylsalicylic, or ibuprofen can help ease any pain, including headaches and facial pain. However, avoid taking them for more than ten days, as overuse can cause side effects.

Allergy Medications

When you have an allergy, histamine is released as an inflammatory response to allergens like pollen and mold. Histamine triggers the production of more mucus.

A buildup of mucus in the sinuses may lead to a chronic sinus infection. Antihistamines work by blocking the effects of histamine, reducing the amount of mucus produced. This can relieve congestion and other chronic sinusitis symptoms.

Sinus Surgery

Your ENT specialist may recommend surgery if other treatment options don’t relieve your symptoms. The goal of sinus surgery is to correct structural problems and remove any blockages.

Clearing sinus and nasal passages reduces inflammation, restores sinus drainage, and offers long-term relief from chronic sinusitis symptoms.

The two main procedures used to alleviate chronic sinusitis are endoscopic sinus surgery and balloon sinuplasty.

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

During an endoscopic sinus procedure, your ENT specialist will insert a thin endoscope with a tiny light and camera inside the nostrils. The camera transmits high-resolution images of sinuses and nasal passages to a screen in the operating room.

Once your ENT specialist locates the problem with the help of the endoscope, they’ll use tiny instruments to remove polyps, correct a deviated septum, or remove unwanted tissue. They may also reduce enlarged turbinates to improve breathing.

Turbinates are small bony structures inside your nose. They clean, warm, and humidify air as it passes through your nostrils and into the lungs.

Endoscopic sinus surgery takes approximately two hours to complete. You should be able to go home the same day as it’s performed as an outpatient procedure.

Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that allows your ENT specialist to widen blocked sinuses. They will use a flexible endoscope with a light to guide a small balloon catheter during the procedure.

When the balloon catheter reaches the blocked sinus passage, your ENT specialist will slowly inflate it. Once done, they’ll deflate and remove the balloon.

Inflating the balloon permanently dilates your passageways. Dilating your passageways decreases inflammation, allows your sinuses to drain better, and reduces the recurrence of chronic sinusitis symptoms, providing lasting, much-needed relief.

Breathe Easier

You don’t have to live with painful, congested sinuses. Our experienced ENT specialists at Indianapolis Sinus Center can improve your breathing, alleviate chronic sinus pain, and ensure long-lasting relief.

Are you tired of feeling miserable due to persistent sinus infections? Schedule your appointment today at Indianapolis Sinus Center in Greenwood, IN! You deserve to breathe better.