When should acute bacterial sinusitis (sinus infection) be suspected during the course of a viral upper respiratory tract infection?

Updated: Mar 01, 2018
  • Author: Itzhak Brook, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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During the course of a viral upper respiratory tract infection, 3 three common clinical presentations should prompt the clinician to consider that the patient is experiencing an episode of acute bacterial sinusitis. These presentations are described as onset with persistent symptoms, onset with severe symptoms, or onset with worsening symptoms. What is meant by persistent symptoms, in the context of acute bacterial sinusitis, is respiratory symptoms that last more than 10 days but less than 30 days and which have not begun to improve. Such symptoms include nasal discharge (of any quality, eg, thick or thin, serous, mucoid or purulent) or daytime cough (which may be worse at night) or both.

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