Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute
There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:
- Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
- Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
- Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
- Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.
Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.
For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.
How Can You Treat Nasal Discharge
Your recommended treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of your nasal discharge. In many cases, you can take steps to relieve your symptoms using simple home remedies. In some cases, your doctor may recommend medications or other treatments.
If a cold or flu is causing your nasal discharge, your treatment options may be limited. In most cases, your body will recover on its own. You should be sure to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Over-the-counter medications may help relieve some of your symptoms. If your flu symptoms are severe, your doctor might prescribe you an antiviral medication. This may reduce the time it takes for you to heal.
Does Insurance Cover Ent Appointments
In most cases, yes. What the insurance company covers depends on the terms of the policy between the insurer and the patient. ENTs are considered specialists, and many insurance companies require a referral from a primary care doctor and/or preauthorization before theyll pay for an office visit with a specialist. Patients can learn more about their policy and plan for the cost of their care by visiting with the financial team at Aurora ENT or calling their insurers member service department.
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What Are The Complications Of Sinus Headache
In rare cases, complications around the eye area can happen, resulting in the area being swollen and inflamed. This may even affect your vision.
If you have a high fever that persists, discolored nasal discharge, rattling in your chest, or difficulty breathing, see your doctor about these symptoms. While a sinus headache might seem like a harmless health condition, its important to determine its cause.
What Is A Deviated Septum
Your septum is the wall between your nostrils that separates the nasal passages. When a septum is deviated, it is bent or crooked, which causes blockage in one of the nasal passages. Some people are born with a deviated septum, and others sustain an injury that damages it.
The surgery to repair and straighten the septum is called septoplasty. Its an option for patients who have not had success with non-invasive treatments. Results vary from person to person, but many people experience an improvement in their breathing after the procedure.
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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.
Schedule An Appointment For Recurring Sinus Infection Treatment In Federal Way Wa
Only an ENT physician has the fellowship training in nasal and sinus issues to provide an individualized treatment plan just for you. When your quality of life is affected by recurrent sinus infections, it is time to take action. Contact Dr. Ryan Stern at , or request an appointment online, for treatment of recurrent sinus infections.
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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.
Common Reasons To See An Allergist/ Immunologist Include:
- And more
Putting it all together
Allergists/immunologists and ENTs often work together to maximize control of nasal/sinus congestion and its entirely possible you may require evaluation from both specialists. Allergists will often refer patients to ENTs when surgery is needed and ENTs often refer patients to allergists when a formal allergy assessment is required.
Allergies are not the only cause of nasal symptoms. So if you have a known structural problem or suspect one, then an ENT specialist would be a good first choice. But if you suspect that you have a sinus or breathing issues related to allergies or asthma, consider seeing a Board Certified Allergist/Immunologist who can help diagnose, treat, and effectively control your symptoms through non-surgical methods.
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What Causes Sinusitis
Viruses or bacteria usually cause acute sinusitis. Acute viral sinusitis is likely if you have been sick for less than 10 days and are not getting worse. Acute bacterial sinusitis is when you do not improve at all within 10 days of getting sick, or when you get worse within 10 days after beginning to get better.
Chronic sinusitis, however, 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. The exact cause cannot always be determined for some reason the nose and sinuses are overreacting to what they think is an infection.
Are There Any Related Conditions or Complications?
Migraine headaches or tension headaches can cause symptoms of sinus pain or pressure. If you have sinus headaches without discolored drainage, talk to your primary care provider, or an ENT specialist, about the possibility of migraine headaches causing sinus pain or pressure and medications options for migraine treatment. Sometimes inflammation of the nasal cavity can also cause drainage and nasal congestion, but not involve your sinuses.
What Is A Sinus
The sinuses are also called the paranasal sinuses because they are hollow, air-filled spaces present within bones around the nasal cavity . The paranasal sinuses drain into the nasal cavity.
Sinuses are present in pairs. They are:
- Frontal Sinus Above and between the eyes
- Maxillary Sinus Over the cheeks
- Sphenoidal Sinus Between the eyes and upper part of nose
- Ethmoidal Sinus Between the eyes and near the temples
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Diagnosis Of Strep Throat
Strep throat causes enlarged reddened tonsils that sometimes have white patches on them however, many viral infections can cause this as well. If strep throat is suspected, a throat culture will be taken and sent to the lab. This test is quick and easy to perform with only mild discomfort as it may cause a gagging sensation. A cotton swab is brushed against the back of the throat then sent to the lab to test for streptococcal bacteria, the cause of strep throat. The standard test can take 1 to 2 days however, a rapid strep test can also be performed, which only takes a few minutes. If the rapid strep test is positive, antibiotics will be started. If the rapid strep test is negative, you will be sent home and the standard culture will still be performed. About 20% of negative rapid strep tests will become positive after a day or two in the laboratory. Sometimes your healthcare provider may make the diagnosis based on classic symptoms and signs to treat you presumptively even without a swab.
When Should You Go To A Sinus Specialist
1. Im sick and tired of being sick and tired– Sinusitis, particularly chronic sinusitis can severely impact a persons overall quality of life. Common symptoms include: discolored drainage, headache, change in sense of smell/taste, fatigue, poor sleep, facial pain/pressure, and an overall reduced sense of wellbeing. Many people dont know that sinusitis is more common than heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and COPD and has a similar impact on quality of life. We understand how much sinusitis impacts you and your family.
2. Time – Its gone on too long. If your symptoms have lasted longer than 12 weeks or occur multiple times a year, it may be time to see a specialist. A specialist visit may be needed if you have no improvement with treatments that have been given by other health care providers.
3. Treatment Options – Ive been on antibiotics too often. As a team, we work with patients to incorporate their individual needs and concerns to develop the best, most effective treatment. Some of these treatment options include irrigations, antibiotics, nasal sprays, or surgery, and are often times a combination. Chronic sinus problems are often not caused by a bacterial infection, but instead by uncontrolled inflammation.
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What Is A Rhinologist
A Rhinologist is a physician who practices Rhinology, the medical science devoted to the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the nose and the paranasal sinuses. Rhinologists are ENT subspecialists who have unique expertise in the medical and surgical treatment of nasal and sinus disorders. Most rhinologists trained in the modern era have completed an otolaryngology-head and neck surgery residency in addition to a post-residency fellowship of at least 1 year duration in Rhinology. Because of this additional dedicated study, rhinologists have extra training in medical and surgical treatment of complex disorders of the nose and sinuses such as sinus tumors, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, recurrent nasal polyps and complicated chronic sinusitis . Rhinologists generally treat complex nasal and sinus disorders on a daily basis and therefore develop a large volume of experience and knowledge with respect to unusual sinus conditions. At the Arizona Sinus Center, our Rhinologists stay current with the latest medical and surgical advancements via regional and national rhinology meetings, journal article review and participation in multidisciplinary skull base disorder team meetings.
Ryan M. Rehl, MD
When To See An Ear Nose And Throat Specialist
From swimmer’s ear to tonsillitis, otolaryngologists or ENT specialists help treat problems of the ears, nose, and throat.
Otolaryngology is the medical specialty that deals with disorders and conditions of the ear, nose, and throat region, and related areas of the head and neck. If you have a problem that is related to your ear, nose, or throat, you may need to see an ENT specialist, who is also called an ear, nose, and throat doctor or an otolaryngologist.
What Does an ENT Specialist Do?
In addition to graduating from medical school , a board certified ENT specialist has completed at least five years of specialty training and passed a certification examination for the American Board of Otolaryngology. ENT specialists are experts in both the medical and surgical management of the following:
Many ENT specialists have also completed an additional one to two years of extensive training in one of the following subspecialty areas of otolaryngology:
- Pediatric otolaryngology
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When To See A Doctor For Asinus Infection
Acute sinusitis often goes away on its own however, there are times when you should see your doctor for sinus infection treatment if self-care doesnt work. You should see a doctor if you still have sinusitis symptoms after a week or if they return more than a few times within a year. You should also see a doctor as soon as possible if the infection worsens. Signs of a worsening sinus infection include:
Signs And Symptoms Of Sinusitis:
A case of acute sinusitis presents with the following signs and symptoms:
- Facial pain and tenderness on pressure
- Nasal congestion
- Nasal obstruction or runny nose
- Yellowish post-nasal discharge into the throat
- Loss of sense of smell
- Pain in frontal region of head or between the eyes
- Aching in upper jaw or teeth
- Occasionally facial swelling may also be present
- Constitutional signs and symptoms like fever, loss of appetite, bodyache and generalized weakness may be present.
- Pain. Pressure or fullness in the ears.
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What Can I Do If I Am Prone To Sinus Infections
Ways to help mitigate the symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:
- Consult with a Board-certified allergist to help determine if allergies are a cause for your symptoms.
- Application of a warm towel to the head, neck, and face to ease pain and pressure.
- Use of saline spray to keep nasal passages clean and decongested.
- Use of OTC decongestants, although these are not recommended as part of a long-term treatment plan.
- Use of a vaporizer or humidifier, especially during the dry winter months. Just be sure to clean the unit routinely, as unclean it poses more risks than benefits.
- Get a better understanding and management plan for allergies, which can be a trigger.
- Try to avoid smoke like cigarettes or even cars, which can inflame the nasal passages.
What Causes Chronic Sinusitis
Although an episode of acute bacterial sinusitis can linger into a chronic condition, other causes of chronic sinusitis include nasal obstructions, allergies, bacterial biofilms, fungi, and immunologic abnormalities. Anatomic variation and allergic swelling can contribute to sinus blockage. Blockage of sinus openings allows stagnant mucous to accumulate, and create a place for bacteria and fungi to grow. The use of antibiotics selects for resistant strains of bacteria and fungi. Bacteria also have the capacity to organize into multicellular colonies called biofilms, which function much like a microscopic coral reef slowly growing and building a protective structure that protects the bacteria while supplying nutrients. The presence of bacteria and fungi can stimulate immunologic reactions that cause further swelling and damage to the sinus membranes.
Read more on the following causes of chronic sinusitis:
- Immunologic Disorders coming soon
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Visit The Leading Ent Specialist In San Antonio Tx For Sinus Infection Relief
Recurringsinus infections can significantly reduce your quality of life and compromiseyour ability to function day to day. Areyou suffering from acute sinus symptoms, recurrent episodes of sinusitis, orchronic sinus infections? Do you havesinus pressure and pain, headaches, postnasal drainage, coughing or fatigue?
Donâtput off getting the relief you need! Youcan call today for an appointment with Dr. Kevin Browne, our ENT specialist atSan Antonio Sinus, to find a solution. He will determine the real cause of your sinus problems and will workwith you to develop the best treatment for your symptoms, your body, and yourlifestyle.
At San Antonio Sinus, Dr. Browne provides personalized, advanced sinus and ENT care. We use the most innovative techniques that include in-office sinus treatments as well as point of care CT evaluation of the sinuses. Dr. Browneâs goal is to care for your Ear Nose and Throat needs with the best medical approach or surgical treatment combined with a quality patient experience.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sinusitis
You have acute sinusitis when you have had cloudy or colored drainage from your nose for up to four weeks, plus one or more of the following symptoms:
- Stuffy, congested, or blocked nose
- Pain, pressure, or fullness in the face, head, or around the eyes
- Long-lasting cold symptoms
- Symptoms that do not improve within 10 days of getting sick, or initially get better then worsen again
You might have chronic sinusitis if you have at least two of the four symptoms note below for at least 12 weeks. An ENT specialist would also need to see polyps, pus, or thickened mucous in nose, or get a CT scan, to fully diagnose chronic sinusitis. Possible symptoms include:
- Stuff congested, or blocked nose
- Pain, pressure or fullness in the face, head or around the eyes
- Thickened nasal drainage
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What Can An Ent Do For Chronic Sinusitis
When symptoms of sinusitis prolong past the 12-week mark despite receiving treatment, the condition moves from acute to chronic. Chronic sinusitis is best treated utilizing a holistic approach targeting both the trigger of the condition as well as effectively treating any ensuing infection. ENTs can correct anatomical or structural problems that are contributory to chronic sinus infections. When the symptoms are tied to an allergy, a Board-certified Allergist can help guide treatment options and lessen the long term need for medications through allergen immunotherapy.