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Causes of Recurrent Acute Rhinosinusitis

Recurrent, acute rhinosinusitis is an inflammatory condition of the sinuses which lasts up to 4 weeks and there are more than 4 such episodes / year. There is the absence of intervening symptoms without concurrent antibiotic therapy. This diagnosis can be associated with:

  • Frequent exposure to viral infection (See The Common Cold & The Flu-Viral Upper Respiratory Illness Information Sheet)
    • Exposure to young children in daycare or early school years up to age 11.
    • Frequent air travel or hand shaking with out hand washing.
    • Exposure to infected individuals – healthcare workers.
  • Naturally occurring or surgically created recirculation of sinus mucous
  • Recurring exposure to some irritant(s)

This condition can be mistakenly diagnosed in patients who can tell whether or not they still have any problems after the majority of their symptoms clear with treatment. Conditions which may mimic recurrent, acute rhinosinusitis are:

  • Inhalant allergy - under-diagnosed or under-treated
  • Under diagnosed or under treated chronic rhinosinusitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux triggering recurrent swelling an inflammation

Occasionally, headache or facial pain can masquerade as rhinosinusitis.