Should You Visit A Specialist
If your sinus infection just wont go away or keeps coming back, it may be time to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. An ENT treats conditions of the ear, nose, throat, head, face, and neck. It may be time to see an ENT if:
- Youve completed several courses of antibiotics without success
- Your doctor suspects nasal polyps or another blockage of the nasal cavity
- You have chronic sinusitis that lasts longer than 12 weeks
Living with a sinus infection is miserable and living with a sinus infection for weeks on end is worse. Contact your doctor or an ENT to get the treatment you need.
Killer Sinus Infection How To Tell If Yours Is Viral Or Bacterial
You know the symptoms: nasal congestion, facial pressure, pain, fever, too much mucus. Ugh. Its probably another sinus infection.
But is your infection caused by a virus or bacteria and does it really matter?
It does matter. Doctors treat viral and bacterial sinus infections differently. Here is what you need to know about both kinds of infection and how to treat them.
Viral or bacterial?
Most sinus infections are viral, and most are caused by the virus that causes the common cold. How can you tell, based on symptoms, whether your infection is viral or bacterial?
Normally, you can’t.
Symptoms like bad breath, yellow or green mucus, fever and headache are not reliable signs of a bacterial infection. They can be present with viral infections, too. Even your doctor cant tell if your infection is viral or bacterial based solely on symptoms or an exam.
Instead, your doctor looks at symptom duration to determine the source of your infection. A viral sinus infection will usually start to improve after five to seven days. A bacterial sinus infection will often persist for seven to 10 days or longer, and may actually worsen after seven days.
4 steps you can take
Whether your sinus infection turns out to be viral or bacterial, you can help to ease your symptoms early on with supportive care:
Use saline spray two to three times per day in each nostril.
Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day.
Get plenty of rest.
What to do for chronic sinusitis
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
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How Is A Sinus Infection Diagnosed And Treated
Your doctor will give you a physical exam and take your medical history. You might get a CT scan of your sinuses.
Your doctor may prescribe medication. They may recommend antibiotics if your symptoms go on for more than 10 days. , antihistamines, and other drugs help lessen the swelling in your sinuses and nasal passages.
Steam and hot showers can help you loosen mucus. Your doctor may also suggest nasal saline to wash mucus from your nose.
In rare cases, when a sinus infection doesn’t go away, long-term antibiotics or surgery may be needed.
Abnormal Growths Or Other Anatomical Abnormalities
The body is a mysterious and complex series of systems. Seemingly out of nowhere, tissues can thicken, cells can excessively multiply causing tumors, or small issues that didnt cause problems in the past can begin to cause you trouble. If your nasal passages or sinus cavities experience abnormal growths of any kind, they can usually be removed through surgery. If it is a tumor or mass, we will biopsy the tissue to make sure it is not cancerous.
Most anatomical abnormalities affecting the bony or soft tissues comprising the sinus cavities can be repaired via surgery, greatly eliminating the experience of recurrent sinus issues.
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What Is The Treatment For Chronic Sinus Infection
When it comes to treating chronic sinusitis, theres no one-size-fits-all solution. While several treatment options are available, what works for one person may not be appropriate for the other. Hence, we tailor the treatment to each individuals needs, symptoms, and whether or not other conditions are also at play.
The goals of treating chronic sinusitis are to address the allergic causes, minimize inflammation, promote free sinus drainage, and eradicate the infection .
Here are a few potential treatment options for chronic sinusitis. We will likely try out a combination of two or more of these options to see what works best for you.
What Causes Pediatric Sinusitis
Young children are more prone to infections of the nose, sinus, and ears, especially in the first several years of life. Viruses, allergies, or bacteria usually cause sinusitis. Acute viral sinusitis is likely if your child has been sick for less than 10 days and is not getting worse. Acute bacterial sinusitis is likely when the sinusitis symptoms do not improve at all within 10 days of getting sick, or if your child gets worse within 10 days after beginning to get better.
Chronic sinusitis lasts 12 weeks or longer, and is usually caused by prolonged inflammation, instead of a long infection. Infection can be a part of chronic sinusitis, especially when it worsens from time to time, but is not usually the main cause.
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What Is A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection, medically known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed. Fluid buildup in the sinuses can cause germs to grow, leading to a sinus infection.
Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and often lasts even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. In some cases, bacteria or, rarely, fungus may cause a sinus infection.
Other conditions such as allergies, nasal polyps, and tooth infections can also contribute to sinus pain and symptoms.
Complications Of Chronic Sinusitis
Some people are troubled by frequent sinus infections, or continuous infection. Chronic sinusitis can linger for weeks or even months at a time. This can sometimes lead to serious complications, including infections in the bones and tissue near to the sinuses. Very rarely this infection can spread to the brain and the fluid around the brain. The person will be very ill and have swelling around the eyes.People with chronic sinusitis may have other problems which affect the nose, throat and ears at the same time, including:
- Middle ear infection and temporary deafness
- Post-nasal drip , which can lead to constant coughing, a sore throat and bad breath.
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Allergy Sinusitis And Sinus Headache Resources
There are a number of very good resources available for people suffering from allergies, sinusitis, and sinus headaches:
What To Do For Chronic Sinusitis
If youre suffering from chronic sinusitis or you are getting frequent sinus infections you should see your doctor, says Dr. Sindwani.
Your doctor will swab your nose to collect mucus. Culturing it in a laboratory will reveal which type of bacteria is causing the infection so the right antibiotic can be prescribed.
Treat early sinus infection symptoms with rest, hydration and over-the-counter sprays and decongestants. But dont look for an antibiotic unless your illness extends beyond a week, he says. Then check in with your doctor for a prescription and let him or her know if your condition worsens.
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Is It A Sinus Infection Or Cold
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a sinus infection and a cold as the symptoms can be very similar. Sinus infections often develop after a cold.
Sinusitis tends to last longer than a cold. Cold symptoms tend to get steadily worse, peaking at 35 days, then gradually get better. Sinus infections may last 10 days or more.
Some symptoms are more likely to be caused by sinusitis than a cold, including:
- swelling of the tissue in the nose
- green discharge from the nose
- a swollen or tender face
Unlike a cold, sinusitis can become chronic, which means it lasts longer than eight weeks. Chronic sinusitis causes swelling and irritation in the sinuses and usually develops after a person has had acute sinusitis. Sometimes the symptoms go away and then come back again.
Ongoing sinus symptoms even if they get better and then come back may indicate chronic sinusitis.
Sinus infections often go away on their own without medical treatment. There are, however, some things a person can do at home to relieve the bothersome symptoms.
To treat sinusitis symptoms with home remedies , try:
Avoid using decongestants on a long-term basis without talking to a doctor first because they can make congestion worse if used for too long.
- symptoms last longer than 10 days with no improvement
- fever lasts longer than 3-4 days
- the pain is very intense
- a person with a suspected sinus infection has a drugs that suppress the immune system, or organ failure
When To Visit An Ent
You may opt to visit an ENT if your sinus infection symptoms last more than one month. However, when a lingering sinus infection after antibiotics lasts more than 12 weeks, its definitely time to see a specialist.
If your doctor has treated you with antibiotics, saline, steroid sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants and youre still not better, youve entered into a confusing area. You need a thorough exam of your sinus pathways with a fiberoptic scope and a CT scan to properly diagnose the problem.
If at any point youre not sure whats going on and your primary care doctor isnt sure whats causing the symptoms, see an ENT for a more specialized exam.
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Two Types Of Sinus Infections
Determining how long your sinus infection will last is dependent on what type you are experiencing. Acute sinusitis lasts for less than four weeks. Chronic sinusitis can last for more than 12 weeks.
The majority of sinus infection sufferers will see their symptoms start to resolve after about 10 days. While one to two infections a year is considering normal, more than four requires medical attention.
If you are experiencing chronic sinusitis with a single infection lasting three months at a time, there may be other factors to consider. Environmental factors such as smoking or allergies are common causes of developing chronic sinusitis.
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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How To Solve A Sinus Infection That Wont Go Away
Sinus infection is a common problem that can affect any age group. It represents the fifth most common condition that requires an antibiotic prescription.
Sinuses are four paired air-filled spaces in your skull and face bones surrounding your nose. Their main function is to produce mucus that forms a layer inside the sinuses to humidify inhaled air and keep the interior of your nose moisturized. This mucus layer can trap dust particles, other pollutants, or bad germs and brush them out through your nose. Each sinus drains into your nose through small openings to keep these passages clear of excess mucus and the trapped particles.
However, sometimes, such as when the weather changes and you catch a cold, it can turn into a sinus infection. This causes inflammation of your sinuses, known as sinusitis. Usually, sinusitis should go away in a few days or a week. But sometimes that sinus infection can stick around for a long time.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Chronic Sinus Infection
Chronic sinusitis emerges more insidiously than acute sinusitis. At times, however, the symptoms start suddenly and may resemble that of the common cold or acute sinusitis that just wont go away.
Chronic sinusitis is most likely if you have two or more of the following symptoms:
- Nasal congestion or stuffy nose
- Mucus and pus-like discharge
- Postnasal drip
- Facial pain, pressure around your eyes and nose, or fullness
- Partial or complete loss of your sense of smell
Chronic cough, sore throat, and fatigue may also be seen in a chronic sinus infection. That said, these symptoms are not required for the diagnosis of chronic rhinosinusitis.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Sinusitis
Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may include:
- Tenderness or pressure in the face .
- Post nasal drip .
- Nasal discharge or a stuffy nose.
- Toothache, ear pain and/or headache.
- Loss of the senses of taste and smell.
- Halitosis .
The combination of symptoms and the fact that they last for such a long period of time can make you miserable. You’ll probably have trouble sleeping through the night and may have dark circles under your eyes.
How To Get Rid Of Sinusitis
If you want to get rid of your sinusitis, you and your ENT will need to work together to discover the source of your sinus infections. For example, your sinusitis might always be precipitated by a cold, or you could have a deviated septum and sinusitis or sinusitis and sleep apnea. Regardless, finding the root cause behind your recurrent or prolonged sinusitis will help determine treatment.
Once the source of your sinus infections is found, you and your ENT will need to discuss treatment options. For those with recurrent sinus issues, one treatment, in particular, has proven itself effective again and again. That treatment option is balloon sinuplasty.
Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive, in-office procedure that takes less than 20 minutes to perform and requires little to no recovery time.
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How Do You Get Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis means that a sinusitis becomes persistent and lasts for longer than 12 weeks. Chronic sinusitis is uncommon. Most cases of chronic sinusitis develop following an acute sinusitis infection. Most cases of acute sinusitis go away within 2-3 weeks, often much sooner. In some cases the symptoms do not go and become persistent . The following are causes of acute sinusitis that may progress into a chronic sinusitis:
- Cold or flu-like illnesses – in most cases, acute sinusitis develops from a cold or flu-like illness. Colds and flu are caused by germs called viruses which may spread to the sinuses. The infection may remain viral before clearing, causing a viral sinus infection. In a small number of cases, germs called bacteria add on to an infection that started with a virus. This can cause a bacterial sinus infection which can make the infection worse, can last longer and may cause more damage or changes to the lining of the sinus.
- Dental infections – in some cases, infection spreads to a cheekbone sinus from an infected tooth.
- Other risk factors for sinus infection – in a few people, one or more factors are present that may cause their sinuses to be more prone to infection. Acute sinusitis may be more likely to progress into chronic sinusitis as there is an underlying problem. Risk factors for sinus infection are dealt with in detail in our separate leaflet called Acute Sinusitis.