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By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Sinusitis is often seen in connection with a common cold. Normally, sinusitis can be treated with medication bought over the counter. If it does not help, you can call the doctor the next day.

The sinuses are cavities filled with air around the eyes and the upper jaw. There is a connection between the sinuses and the nose that ensures an outlet for slime from the sinuses to the nose. When you have a common cold, the mucous membrane in the nose swells up and closes the connection between nose and sinuses. Therefore, an oppressive sensation can arise in the sinuses. Such a sensation in the sinuses should not be treated with penicillin.

Real sinusitis arises by bacteria from the nose spreading to the sinuses. Typically, there is oppressive pain around the eyes of in the upper jaw. The oppressive pain is worsened if you ben over and has the head up side down. Thick, bloody secrete from the nose is common. Smell and taste often changes – food smells rotten and tastes sweet and sickly.

It can be difficult to determine whether the oppressive sensation in the sinuses is caused by a common cold or bacteria. Your doctor can by closer examination determine whether to give you antibiotics or not. Only when there are bacteria in the sinuses will antibiotics help.


Sinusitis is not very contagious.

When can I go to work?
When you are free of fever and the pain is on the decline.


To soothe the pain in the sinuses you can use nose drops or nasal spray (bought over the counter) that reduces the mucous membrane in the nose so that the pressure in the sinuses diminishes. Ordinary painkilling medication (e.g. paracetamol or aspirin) often helps with the pain. By closer examination, your general practitioner can determine whether to give you antibiotics or not. Only when there are bacteria in the sinuses, the antibiotics help.

What can you do?

If you have a fever, you should dress lightly and stay in a cool room. You should drink plenty.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

Contact the doctor tommorow

If you have used nose drops and painkilling medication for 24 hours without it helping with the oppressive sensation and the discomfort.

Contact the doctor immediately

If you still have pronounced pain in the sinuses, in spite of nose drops and painkilling medication.