Acute Bacterial Sinusitis (ABS)

Acute Bacterial Sinusitis (ABS)

Acute Bacterial Sinusitis (ABS) is a bacterial infection of the paranasal sinuses located on either side of the nose. It is usually caused by infection from the common cold, viral or other viral illnesses. Signs and symptoms include: nasal congestion, thick or colored nasal discharge, facial pain or pressure, headache, sore throat, bad breath, and fever. ABS may also be caused by a fungus, in which case both antibiotics and anti-fungal medications are usually prescribed.

Risk Factors

Most cases of Acute Bacterial Sinusitis are caused by infection from a common cold, viral or other viral illness. People with allergies or asthma, who smoke, or who have a weakened immune system due to disease or medications, are at greater risk for developing acute bacterial sinusitis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of ABS is made by a health care provider based upon the signs and symptoms present. Tests such as a CT scan or a nasal culture may be used to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment for acute bacterial sinusitis usually involves antibiotics and/or anti-fungal medications, depending on the cause of the infection. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to help relieve symptoms of acute bacterial sinusitis.


Preventing the development of acute bacterial sinusitis can be done by:

  • Avoiding contact with people who have colds or other illnesses
  • Washing hands frequently
  • Avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke as much as possible
  • Treating allergies or asthma effectively
  • Using a humidifier in your home
  • Staying away from air pollutants