Sinus Infection without mucus: how to get relief?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Key takeaways

  1. Sinusitis is a sinus infection due to bacteria, viruses, and allergens from the environment. The most common of which is viral sinusitis, leading to discomforting symptoms. Mucus production is quite common in sinus infections, but in some cases, there is little to no mucus. 
  2. Causes of a sinus infection without the mucus can be dry sinusitis, viruses like Influenza virus, or allergens from the environment. 
  3. Symptoms of sinus infection are headache, migraine, fever, general body pain, and fatigue. Over-the-counter medications can treat it, like Advil and Tylenol. 


Sinus infection (Sinusitis)  can be one of the most troublesome medical conditions; either with or without mucus, it can lead to extreme discomfort, irritation, headache, and pain. Sinus infection without congestion or mucus can only be diagnosed and treated with prescription medications from healthcare providers. Symptoms of sinusitis without mucus can range from irritation, headache, and fever, while treatment options start with the correct diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics and pain relievers. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve the pain and fever, while antibiotics can help with the underlying bacteria or foreign object causing sinusitis.

Sinus headache without congestion

Sinus infection (Sinusitis) is the inflammation of the tissue linings in the sinus cavity present in the face. Altogether, four sinuses in the face and skull are filled with air. They get an infection when the foreign parasite attacks the linings (Bacteria, viruses, and fungi), leading to mucus production and congestion. Usually, mucus production and congestion indicate bacterial and viral sinusitis. 

Sometimes, sinusitis occurs without congestion and mucus production, leading to severe headaches and discomfort in the sinuses.

Causes of Sinus infection without mucus

Foreign objects like bacteria, fungi, and mainly viruses can attack the sinus to cause sinusitis, sometimes leading to severe congestion or minimum to no mucus production in response.

Some of the main causes of the sinus infection leading to no mucus are

1. Viruses

As per the recent National Institute of Health Research, sinusitis is typically caused by viruses and often resolves on its own with time. Around 90% of individuals with colds experience some degree of viral sinusitis. 

Viral Infection causing sinusitis without mucus production leads to irritation in the nose and facial area due to the narrowed and blocked with certain pressure.

Has your flu been transformed into a viral sinus? Talk to an online doctor now.


Treatment options for viral sinusitis are as follows. 

  1. Getting bed rest for 2-3 days. 
  2. Drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and let the body fight the infection. 
  3. In case of dry sinusitis, place a humidifier in your room to add moisture.
  4. Over-the-counter medications like Acetaminophen to relieve pain.

2. Allergic Sinusitis

Allergic sinusitis is triggered by allergens, specifically external factors in the air like dust, dander, pollen, or any pungent fragrance that you are allergic to. It can trigger the immune system, leading to a sinus infection. 

The most causating factors of allergic sinusitis are the external factors present in the air you inhale. It can be avoided by keenly observing the environment you stay in.

Is your allergy leading to a sinus infection? Get virtual medical advice now.

3. Dry Sinusitis

Dry sinusitis is referred to as the same sinus infection with less production of thick mucus which can typically be noticed with the normal sinus infection. Various factors can contribute to dry sinusitis infection, including 

  • Dry environment or less moisture in the air 
  • Medications.
  • Internal physiology that affected mucus production 
  • Lack of strong immunity and immunity response from the body 

Here is the list of medications that can lead to the dry sinusitis : 

  1. Antihistamines ( Diphenhydramine,Cetirizine
  2. Decongestant Nasal Sprays ( Oxymetazoline )  
  3. Anticholinergic Medications ( Oxybutynin ) 
  4. Antidepressants  ( Amitriptyline
  5. Antipsychotic Medication
  6. Medications for High Blood Pressure  ( Hydrochlorothiazide
  7. Opioid Pain Medications ( Oxycodone ) 

4. Chronic Sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis is the extreme and severe stage of sinus infection that occurs after a longer period and persistent inflammation in the sinus cavity due to viral, bacterial, fungal, or allergy-causing agents.

It’s the stage where medical consultation is a must to diagnose and treat the underlying condition properly. Treatment options can be antiviral or antibiotic prescription medication as per the diagnosis by the healthcare provider.

Are you experiencing persistent inflammation in your sinus? Get an online consultation now.

Symptoms of Sinus infection without mucus

The following are the most common symptoms of sinus infection with minimum to zero mucus production.

Migraine due to Sinus infection

Are you experiencing migraines along with the sinus infection? Most probably, it’s because of your sinus infection that affected your normal physiology

Following are all the causes of the migraine you are experiencing:

1. Sinus pressure

Sinus pressure is the common sign of sinus infection where the pressure is built up in all four cavities of the sinuses. This pressure eventually affects the surrounding organs, including blood vessels and nerves in the head. This can typically cause or worsen the migraine in the susceptible individuals.

2. Inflammatory response

The body’s immunity responds in a certain way to any or all of the foreign entering objects. In the case of sinus infections, the body responds by producing cytokines in the body, leading to inflammation in the sinuses, eventually causing headaches or migraines. Changes in the blood vessel function for releasing cytokines in the body are the main cause of migraine in the sinus infection.

3. Pain perception

Sinus infection can cause quite discomforting symptoms, including headache, fever, and sinus pressure in the facial area. This pressure and pain can cause an individual’s pain threshold very lower to a degree where a minor pain can be felt intense. Minor headaches in such a case can be felt as severe migraines leading.

Treatment of Migraine with Sinus Infection

Consulting a healthcare provider is the first option for the treatment of migraine to get the proper diagnosis of an underlying agent causing migraine and prescription according to the condition. It’s important to note that if not treated properly, migraines can come again with the same or more intensity with or without a sinus infection. 

Other temporary treatment options can be : 

  • Getting bedrest. 
  • Over the counter pain relief medications like Tylenol (acetaminophen)  or Advil.
  • Nasal decongestants like Oxymetazoline.
  • Aspirin.

When to see a doctor

Sinusitis without mucus often leads to severe migraine and facial pressure. Getting a healthcare consultation is crucial to avoid the relapse of migraines and get the proper diagnosis as well as prescription.

FAQs about Metallic Taste in Mouth

How long should a Sinusitis headache last?

Depending on your sinus infection, it can last for several days to weeks. If you have an acute sinus infection, it will last for several days on and off; chronic sinusitis can last for a month. Getting a medical consultation for a headache or migraine during sinusitis or trying over-the-counter medications is good.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

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  • Ludman, Harold. “Paranasal sinus diseases.” British Medical Journal (Clinical research ed.) 282.6269 (1981): 1054.
  • Rubin, Bruce K., et al. “Effect of clarithromycin on nasal mucus properties in healthy subjects and in patients with purulent rhinitis.” American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine 155.6 (1997): 2018-2023.
  • Gwaltney Jr, Jack M. “Acute community-acquired sinusitis.” Clinical Infectious Diseases (1996): 1209-1223.
  • Low, Donald E., et al. “A practical guide for the diagnosis and treatment of acute sinusitis.” Canadian Medical Association. Journal 156.6 (1997): S1.
  • Meltzer, Eli O., et al. “Added relief in the treatment of acute recurrent sinusitis with adjunctive mometasone furoate nasal spray.” Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 106.4 (2000): 630-637.

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