Cold viruses in the paranasal sinuses

Sinusitis – when cold viruses find their way into the sinuses

While it's true that inflammation of the paranasal sinuses is a common complaint in the winter, it is usually harmless. The new Health Tip tells you when to consult a doctor and how to take steps to avoid becoming ill in the first place.
Thick mucus clogs up your nose. You feel dizzy and the feeling of pressure in your head forces you to stay in bed. These symptoms suggest that you are suffering from inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. In other words, one or more of your paranasal sinuses (i.e. the maxillary sinuses, frontal sinuses, sphenoid sinuses and ethmoidal cells) have become inflamed.

Should you see a doctor?

As a rule, sinusitis goes away of its own accord within two weeks, provided that it is treated correctly. Nasal drops, sprays or rinses as well as other expectorants can be used to fight the infection. Anti-inflammatory pain medication (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) can be useful in treating headaches. As a rule, sinusitis does not result in complications. However, if you have the following symptoms, you should see a doctor.

  • Severe or frequent nosebleeds
  • Severe pain (in the head, teeth or eyes) when bending forward
  • Disturbed vision
  • Swelling around or between the eyes (including the forehead and eye sockets)
  • Numbness of the face
  • Temperature > 38.5°C
  • If your condition initially improves and then deteriorates significantly

If inflammation of the paranasal sinuses lasts for more than twelve weeks, it is then referred to as a chronic illness. In this case, an appointment with your doctor and more detailed investigations are unavoidable.

Boost your immune system and prevent infections

The easiest way to prevent infections is to avoid close contact with people with colds and to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly (Health Tip: Washing your hands properly). "If you are often in public places with lots of other people during the cold season, disposable wipes are a good way of drying your hands", explains Silke Schmitt Oggier, Medical Director of santé24. As there are no specific preventive measures for sinusitis, we recommend that you take the usual measures to fight respiratory infections. These include a balanced and varied diet, sufficient exercise, restorative sleep, and adequate hydration. You should also avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.


Under the COMPLETA PRAEVENTA and OPTIMA supplementary insurance plans, SWICA contributes towards numerous preventive measures which are delivered by SWICA-approved partners or providers and help you to protect yourself against disease and infection. Preventive healthcare includes measures that prevent or reduce certain health disorders and diseases and their negative effects.

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In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.