The cold you had last week is still there. You can hardly breathe through your nose and your whole face is throbbing with pain. If this is happening to you, then it sounds like you could have sinusitis - an inflammation of your sinus cavities.

When we think about what’s inside our head, we like to think of it as being filled with our brains. We don’t usually realise there are a whole lot of hollow spaces in there as well! These are our sinus cavities. We have them above our eyes, in our cheeks and behind our nose. 

Our sinuses are lined with delicate membranes. When these membranes become inflamed in one or more of the cavities or spaces you have sinusitis. Sinuses have very narrow openings so they block up easily, especially when their lining is swollen.

When people say they’re having a ‘sinus attack’ this is usually what is happening. But to say you have sinus problems often doesn’t do justice to the pain.

Signs of sinusitis

Sinusitis can be very painful. Symptoms include:

- A blocked nose

- Persistent pain and swelling in the sinus areas behind the nose or above the eyes. Lying down or bending forwards often makes this pain worse.

- Yellow or green mucus

- A headache

- Fever and chills

- A lack of smell or taste

- A cough

- A toothache

- Bad breath

- Fatigue

- An earache