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How to tell if you have a sinus infection? What does it feel like?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Feb 17, 2023.

Official answer


Signs and symptoms of a sinus infection (sinusitis) can be similar to a cold but nasal symptoms tend to be more severe, with a thicker nasal discharge, and you are more likely to experience head pain or even tooth pain.

Common signs and symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Facial pressure or tenderness, particularly around the nose, eyes, and forehead
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Headache
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Nasal congestion
  • Postnasal drip (mucus that drips down the back of your throat) may make you cough or give you a sore throat
  • Raspy or hoarse voice
  • Thick yellow or green nasal discharge
  • Tooth, upper jaw, or ear pain.

If you have a sinus infection, you are likely to feel worse in the morning or after lying down. This is due to fluids collecting all night long. In addition, you may cough more at night because the discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat.

Sleeping with your upper body elevated (such as by placing some books under the front legs of your bed) can help reduce congestion and postnasal drip.

  • Sinus Infection (Sinusitis) Cleveland Clinic.,in%20your%20teeth%20or%20ears.
  • Is It a Cold or Sinus Infection? WebMD.

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