When You Should See A Doctors For A Sinus Infection
When is it time to visit the doctor? Any time youre having problems with your sinuses that are affecting your day-to-day life. We want to create an individual treatment plan to provide reliefparticularly if medication isnt making the situation much better.
A visit to the doctor is particularly important if:
You have chronic sinus problems throughout the year.
Your sinus issues keep you from doing the things that you enjoy.
You develop frequent sinus infections that require antibiotic treatment.
Youve found that over-the-counter medication doesnt relieve your symptoms.
What is the difference between a chronic and an acute sinus infection?
While the signs and symptoms of both chronic and acute sinusitis are very similar, chronic sinus infections last for at least 12 weeks.
During chronic sinusitis, the nasal passages remain swollen and inflamed despite several treatment attempts or use of over-the-counter medication. Acute sinusitis is a temporary infection that is most likely associated with a cold or virus.
If you have a chronic sinus infection, its time to schedule an appointment with one of our internal medicine physicians.
What Is An Otolaryngologist
An Otolaryngologist is a physician trained in the medical and surgical care of head and neck disorders. Commonly referred to as an ear, nose and throat doctor, an Otolaryngologist must complete 4 years of medical school and then at least 5 years of head and neck surgical and medical residency training to be eligible for the American Board of Otolaryngology exam. To become board certified, the otolaryngologist must pass a written examination as well as a rigorous oral exam. Board Certified Otolaryngologists have demonstrated the required competency in otology , rhinology , allergy, head and neck surgery , pediatric ear, nose and throat disorders, laryngology and facial plastic surgery. Otolaryngologists serve as community resources for public health issues including hearing impairment, oral and skin cancer prevention, obstructive sleep apnea and air quality.
What Can I Do
While you wait for your infection to run its course, you can take steps at home to feel better.
Look into nasal sprays. Store-bought saline nasal spray loosens up mucus, temporarily clearing it from your nasal passages. A steroid nasal spray like fluticasone may help tame inflammation, especially if you have underlying allergies. Unsure about using a steroid? Follow package directions and go to your HCP with questions.
Be wary of decongestant nasal sprays, like oxymetazoline . Using them for longer than three days could cause rebound symptoms persistent stuffiness eased only by the spray itself. Dryness and addiction are also possibilities.
Embrace sinus rinses like the neti pot. Many sinus infection veterans swear by nasal irrigation systems, such as plastic squeeze bottles or teakettle-shaped neti pots. These devices are filled with a sterile saline solution and used to flush snot from your sinuses.
Neti pots and their ilk are widely available and typically safe, as long as you handle them properly. Dont use water directly from your tap. Instead use distilled water, a sterile saline solution or water that has been boiled and then cooled.
Try over-the-counter medicines. Experts recommend analgesics including acetaminophen , ibuprofen and aspirin to ease pain, as well as decongestants like pseudoephedrine to alleviate the pressure of congestion.
Finally, you may want to avoid flying or scuba diving, since either can aggravate sinus pain.
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When Antibiotics Are In Order
The main reason to prescribe antibiotics is for patient comfort, Dr. Sindwani says. The medical field used to be more convinced than it is today than untreated sinusitis would inevitably become a chronic issue, he says.
We dont think that way as much, he says. We dont know that an untreated acute sinusitis, if left untreated, will grumble along and cause people to have a chronic sinus infection.
Some people think thats two separate things, with chronic sinusitis more likely due to underlying issues like allergies or immune problems.
Is It Time To Consider Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Functional endoscopic sinus surgery is a procedure that your ENT surgeon can use to treat moderate to severe sinus surgery. If youre no longer responding to treatments like nasal irrigation, antibiotics, and decongestants, then you may be a candidate for sinus surgery.
During the procedure, Dr. Davis uses an endoscope to locate and remove bone and tissue in the sinuses that are preventing drainage. Sinus surgery creates larger drainage pathways to reduce the chances of mucus buildup after recovery. In addition, medicated sinus rinses can better penetrate the opened sinuses to help reduce inflammation. Patients will need to undergo general anesthesia for the procedure, which usually takes between one and three hours. However, recovery is typically quick, with very little pain.
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Who To See For Your Chronic Sinus Problems
In the US, chronic sinusitis affected about 11.6 percent of adults. This condition can affect your ability to breathe which has an impact on everything from exercise to your ability to sleep soundly. When you get an accurate diagnosis, it can ensure that you are on a treatment regimen that can alleviate your symptoms. Seeing the right specialist can help to ensure that you get a diagnosis and the proper treatment faster.
Why Do I Need To Schedule An Appointment With Your Office
Unfortunately, many sinus problems are often mistaken as colds or headaches. Many patients do not realize that their symptoms are a sign of serious sinus issues. Even if the symptoms do not seem serious at first, sinus problems often worsen and can lead to major complications and even long-term health issues. That is one reason why it is important to schedule an appointment with your sinus doctor as soon as you notice symptoms or discomfort with your sinuses.
If your cold has lasted too long, you are experiencing sinus pain, or have any other issues with your nose, then you need to schedule an appointment with a sinus doctor immediately. Although most nose and sinus infections can be treated with medication, some require surgical treatment. Sinus infections that remain untreated often spread and go onto cause other serious health issues and complications. Although most sinus infections are treatable and do not cause major damage, in some cases these infections can and do lead to blindness, a brain abscess, meningitis and other major complications.
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What Type Of Doctor To Choose
Primary care physicians, internists, and general practitioners are all equipped to treat nasal congestion. If the congestion becomes severe, a patient will be referred to an ear nose and throat specialist. The ENT specialist is also called an otolaryngologist. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are also able to diagnose and write prescriptions for most sinus problems. Pediatricians can diagnose and treat children.
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When Do You Need To See An Otolaryngologist For Sinus Care
Otolaryngologists are uniquely trained to examine and manage all kinds of sinus disease. When patients have chronic sinus symptoms for longer than 3 months, sinus symptoms that persist despite antibiotics, or recurrent sinus infections, they should be evaluated by an Otolaryngologist. Otolaryngologists use state-of-the-art equipment including cameras to uniquely examine the nasal cavity and drainage pathways of the sinuses. In doing so, Otolaryngologists can identify all types of sinus disease, and make recommendations which may include a CAT scan of sinuses, endoscopic sinus surgery, antibiotics, sinus irrigations, or a unique combination of prescription nasal sprays depending on the diagnosis.
If these symptoms sound like something youve experienced or if youre plagued by constant sinus issues, its time to make an appointment with an Otolaryngologist. An examination by an ear, nose, and throat specialist near you can help get you back to health. Visit our website to learn more and book an appointment today!
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Sore Throat And Hoarse Voice
Postnasal drip can leave you with a raw and aching throat. Although it may start as an annoying tickle, it can get worse.
If your infection lasts for a few weeks or more, mucus can irritate and inflame your throat as it drips, resulting in a painful sore throat and hoarse voice. Frequent coughing and throat clearing can make a hoarse voice worse.
What Is The Treatment For Sinus Infections And Sinusitis
- Systemic steroids
- A combination there several
What Are the Side Effects of Nasal and Oral Decongestants?
Both nasal and oral decongestants have side effects, which include:
- Increased heart rate
- Urinary problems, especially prostate disorders
Combining decongestants with OTC or prescribed medications with similar side effects may cause dangerous complications.
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How Can An Ent Help With Chronic Sinusitis
If you have ongoing symptoms that do not respond to treatments or recurrent sinusitis, an ENT specialist can diagnose chronic sinusitis by completing an examination, reviewing your medical history, and conducting some tests. Tests may include:
- A nasal endoscopy. A procedure that uses an endoscope to see the inside of the sinuses and to assess the sinus structures.
- Diagnostic imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging scans or computed tomography scans to examine the sinus structures, particularly if there is deep inflammation or physical obstruction that may be difficult to identify using an endoscope.
- Allergy tests if its suspected that allergies are triggering the condition.
- Nasal and sinus cultures to help determine the cause of an infection.
Treatment can vary depending on the cause of chronic sinusitis. Natural remedies such as saline nasal irrigation, drinking plenty of fluids, or using a humidifier in your home may be recommended to help alleviate symptoms, but other treatments may include:
Nose And Sinus Diseases We Diagnose And Treat
Our physicians at the Weill Cornell Medicine Ear, Nose and Throat Department are committed to providing the highest-quality nose and sinus disease care, offering solutions tailored to each patient. Our physicians are leaders in the field, using the latest diagnostic equipment and minimally invasive procedures to address your sinus and nasal problems, including:
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Common Symptoms And Signs Of Sinus Infections
Signs and symptoms of sinus infections depend upon the sinuses that are affected, and whether the sinus infection is acute or chronic.
Common Sinus Infection Symptoms and Signs
- Stuffy nose or congestion
5 Chronic Sinusitis Symptoms
Chronic sinusitis may have many of the same symptoms as acute sinusitis, but the symptoms last longer or are more severe. In addition, people with chronic sinusitis may also experience multiple symptoms, for example:
When To See A Specialist For Recurrent Sinus Infection
The symptoms of a sinus infection are known to many of us. Headaches and having pressure and pain behind our cheekbones and around our eyes are but a few of them. Most of the time these sinus infections go away with proper home care. When they dont go away or keep coming back, here is the recommendation for when to see a specialist for recurrent sinus infections.
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What Is Chronic Sinusitis
Sinusitis is characterized by inflammation in your sinuses. It is considered chronic when it lasts for over 12 weeks. General sinusitis usually occurs as the result of an infection and can be cleared up with antibiotics. However, when the condition is chronic, antibiotics usually do not help since bacteria is often not the culprit.
Other Remedies For Symptom Relief
Staying hydrated can help thin mucus to ease congestion.
Drinking hot liquids such as tea and broth may help relieve your symptoms. Breathing in moist air may also help relieve the discomfort that comes with nasal congestion. Try breathing in steam from the shower, a bowl of hot water, or a mug of tea.
If your voice is hoarse, rest it by avoiding yelling, whispering, and singing.
Placing a warm compress over the inflamed area can help reduce pressure and provide relief.
damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.
If you smoke, consider quitting. Ask a doctor if you need help or are interested in quitting. Quitting may help prevent future episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.
Wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu seasons, to keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.
Using a humidifier during the cooler, dryer months may also help prevent sinus infections.
Talk with a doctor to see if allergies are causing your sinusitis. If youre allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies to relieve your sinus infection.
You may need to seek an allergy specialist to determine the cause of the allergy. The specialist may suggest:
- avoiding the allergen
- doing allergic immunotherapy
Keeping your allergies under control can help prevent repeated episodes of sinusitis.
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Signs Of A Sinus Infection
One of the most common sinus infection symptoms is feeling pain on your forehead, upper jaw, between your eyes, and your neck. Another sign of sinus infection is that you produce a thick, colored nasal secretion. Your secretion will either be yellowish, white, greenish or tinged with blood.
Your inflamed sinuses will also restrict how well you breathe. It will affect your sense of taste and smell. Not only that, but it will also affect how you talk, making you sound more stuffy.
You will experience a lot of irritation in your throat, making you cough more than normal. It could get worse when you lie down and when you wake up.
You should wait at least 7 to 10 days before going to your doctor. If most symptoms dont disappear for a week or two, its best you go to your doctor immediately. Note that OTC medications wont help in relieving the pain from sinus infections.
Which Home Remedies And Otc Medications Soothe Sinus Infections And Sinusitis Symptoms And Headache Pain
Home care can help relieve sinus infection or sinusitis symptoms, open the sinuses, and alleviate dryness.
Home Remedies to Promote Drainage
- Drink plenty of water and hydrating beverages such as hot tea.
- Inhale steam two to four times per day by leaning over a bowl of hot water or using a steam vaporizer. Inhale the steam for about 10 minutes. Taking a hot, steamy shower may also work. Mentholated preparations, such as Vicks Vapo-Rub, can be added to the water or vaporizer to aid in opening the passageways.
OTC Medications to Thin Mucus
Expectorants are medications that help expel mucus from the lungs and respiratory passages. They help thin mucous secretions, enhancing drainage from the sinuses. The most common is guaifenesin . OTC sinus medications also can combine decongestants and cough suppressants to reduce symptoms and eliminate the need for the use of many prescription medications. Read label ingredients to find the right combination of ingredients or ask the pharmacist.
OTC Medications to Relieve Pain
Pain medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen can reduce pain and inflammation. These medications help to open the airways by reducing swelling. Acetaminophen can be used for pain and fever but does not help with inflammation.
Nasal Saline Irrigation
There are several methods of nasal irrigation, and a popular sinus remedy is the Neti-pot, a ceramic pot that looks like a cross between a small teapot and Aladdinâs magic lamp.
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Nasal Discharge: Cause Treatments And Prevention
What is nasal discharge?
Mucus isnt just a slimy material in your nose it actually has a useful purpose. It traps bacteria, other germs, and debris, and prevents them from entering your lungs.
In some cases, such as when you have a cold or allergies, mucus may flow out of your nose or down your throat. When mucus comes out of your nose, its called nasal discharge. It can also be called post-nasal drip or rhinorrhea.
Although its annoying, nasal discharge is common and usually goes away on its own. But in some cases, its a sign of an underlying health problem that might require medical attention.
There are many potential causes of nasal discharge. Some of the most common include infections and allergies.
Seeing Your Ent Doctor About Sinus Pain
When youre dealing with issues with your sinuses you may not be sure when to see your ENT doctor in Flint, MI, about confronting these sinus problems. Sinus problems can be a sign of something more severe affecting you and its important not to ignore any signs of pain or issues that you may be experiencing.
If you notice that youre experiencing sinus pain and its difficult to breathe and function on a daily basis, it may be time to visit your ENT doctor as soon as possible. Sinus problems can be a sign of other issues, such as:
- Deviated septum
There are different symptoms that are associated with each issue, but most commonly, it may be hard to breathe, and you may experience facial pain, a sore throat, and a runny nose. You may also have issues breathing out of one side of your nose. If youre dealing with sinusitis, it may go away on its own within 10 days, but if symptoms continue or are severe, you should be sure to visit your ENT doctor as soon as possible for treatment. Depending on what issues youre dealing with, your ENT doctor can prescribe different medications or treatments to help relieve your symptoms and your pain.
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