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Sinusitis

What is a Sinusitis?

If you have been experiencing the symptoms of cold for more than 10 days, the chances are you have sinusitis or a sinus infection. More than 35 million Americans suffer from sinusitis every year. It is a common condition affecting your upper respiratory system, however, if prompt treatment is not accessed, your sinusitis can lead to serious complications.

If you have been experiencing the symptoms of sinus infection for more than 10 days, do not hesitate to call us at 440-352-1474 to set up an appointment with a board-certified ENT Doctor in Concord, Willoughby, or Madison.

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What Causes a Sinusitis?

Your sinuses are small hollow spaces on either sides of your nose that are usually filled with air. Small channels connect your sinuses to your nose. The linings of the sinuses produce mucous to help clear out your nose. Inflammation of these tissues is referred to as sinusitis. A bacterial and viral infection may inflame and block the sinuses, blocking the tiny channels that drain the mucous. Infected mucous and pus fills up the nose and your sinus cavities leading to variety of discomforting symptoms. In addition to bacteria and virus, following conditions may lead to sinusitis:

Types of Sinusitis

Depending on the period the symptoms last, there are two main types of Sinusitis:

Acute Sinusitis

Most sinus infections only lead to mild symptoms like runny nose and nasal obstruction and clear up within 10 days. If your infection persists for more than 4 weeks, you have acute sinusitis. Congested nose, and pain, pressure of fullness in the face are common tell tale signs.

Acute Viral Sinusitis: If your sinus infection shows no sign of worsening in the first 10 days, you may have viral sinusitis.

Acute Bacterial Sinusitis: If your symptoms show no sign of improvement within 10 days of getting sick or if they get worse after beginning to subside, you have acute bacterial sinusitis.

Chronic Sinusitis

The sinusitis that is caused by prolonged inflammation and lasts for more than 12 weeks is called chronic sinusitis. Infection is not the causal factor of a chronic sinusitis. Factors like deviated septum, nasal polyps and allergies may lead to chronic sinusitis.

What are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?

Common symptoms of sinus infection or acute sinusitis are as follows:

  • Runny nose
  • Thick green or yellow discharge
  • Postnasal drip
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Nasal congestion or stuffed-up nose
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Impaired sense of smell
  • Cough

If you have a chronic sinusitis, the above-mentioned symptom may last for more than 12 weeks. In addition, you may also experience following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Dental pain
  • Fatigue
  • Earache
  • Pain or tenderness around your eyes, cheeks and nose

What are the Risk Factors for Sinusitis?

You have increase chances of developing sinusitis, if you have weak immunity or are particularly susceptible to seasonal allergies. Similarly, you are at a higher risk for experiencing sinusitis if you have nasal passage deformity like a deviated septum.

When Should I see a Doctor?

If the symptoms of your cold last for more than 10 days and your symptoms do not seem to get better, you should visit an experienced sinus doctor who can comprehensively evaluate your sinuses to diagnose and effectively treat your condition.

How is Sinusitis Diagnosed?

Following diagnostic procedures can help your ENT doctor to diagnose the type and severity of your sinusitis:

  • Your doctor may give you a physical. He/she may look for signs of tenderness in the sinuses and the surrounding facial areas.
  • He may use an otoscope- a thin tube with a light attached on the front- to inspect your nasal passage.
  • Nasal Endoscopy with the help of an endoscope- a tube with a light and camera- may also help your doctor diagnose your sinusitis.
  • Lab testing of sinus cultures may also be needed.

How is Sinusitis Treated?

For acute sinusitis, following treatments may be recommended by your sinus doctor:

  • Over the counter decongestant
  • A course of antibiotics

The main goal of the treatment procedures for chronic sinusitis is to reduce the inflammation, as infection is not the causal factor. Following treatment options may be recommended.

  • Salt water nasal irrigation and saline sprays
  • Nasal steroid spray such as corticosteroid spray
  • Decongestants

Surgery may be needed in cases where chronic sinusitis is caused by nasal polyps or deviated septum. Endoscopic sinus surgery can help to widen the drainage pathways of sinus to provide much needed relief.

Sinusitis may lead to serious and long-standing complications. Right diagnosis and timely sinus treatment is essential. If you have been experiencing the symptoms of sinus infection for more than 10 days, do not hesitate to call us at 440-352-1474 to set up an appointment with a board-certified ENT Doctor in Concord, Willoughby, or Madison.