Types Of Sinus Infections
Acute and chronic sinusitis have a variety of symptoms. Patients with acute infection often experience nasal mucosal edema and purulent secretions, as well as pain in the surrounding sinuses. The location of the pain varies depending on the affected area. For instance, a patient may feel pain on palpation of the forehead over the frontal sinuses. This type of pain can be associated with tension headaches. Infections of the maxillary and ethmoid bones can cause a persons tooth sensitivity.
There are several diagnostic techniques used by medical professionals to determine the severity and duration of sinusitis. The primary factor in making the diagnosis is the presence of purulent secretions. During the first phase of the diagnosis, medical professionals may perform physical exams of the face or obtain a patients history. However, acute symptoms may persist for months or years despite treatment. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if symptoms are persistent or recurrent.
Acute bacterial sinusitis is typically less than four weeks. Acute symptoms typically begin with a cold and resolve within a week or ten days. In acute sinusitis, however, bacterial infections can develop and can persist. When this happens, the nasal discharge can be green or yellow and make breathing difficult. In addition, the patient may also notice facial pain or swelling, and pain in the ear or face may be referred to the jaw or ear. In some cases, fever and nausea may occur.
Ear Nose & Throat: Diagnosis Of Sinus Issues
In most cases, patients have acute sinus problems the symptoms start suddenly and then clear up on their own within a week or two. If you notice that these acute flare ups happen frequently, or you have chronic sinus symptoms that last for months, then you need to talk to a doctor for an official diagnosis.
One of the first things your ENT will do is perform an exam and order testing as needed to diagnose your condition. Knowing the underlying cause of your sinus issues gives the ENT a foundation to build an effective treatment plan.
For example, if the sinus issues are caused by a viral infection , then there is no need to prescribe antibiotics. This medication will not be effective in clearing up the congestion. The only time antibiotics should be used is if the sinus symptoms are caused by bacteria.
What Causes A Sinus Infection
In most cases, acute sinusitis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection, which means it usually develops after youve had a cold or the flu. Its possible for an acute sinus infection to develop into a chronic infection over time. However, most chronic sinus infections are caused by:
- Problems with the physical structure of your sinuses such as nasal polyps, narrow sinuses, or a deviated septum
- Allergies such as hay fever that cause inflammation
Certain health conditions are also known to accompany chronic sinusitis. These include:
- Primary immune deficiency disesase
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When To Call Your Doctor About Congestion
Congestion is usually a minor problem, but symptoms that persist for a prolonged period may be a sign of a more serious condition. Do you know when to consult with a doctor about your stuffiness?
You may think a stuffy nose is just excess mucus clogging up your nostrils. But most of the time, mucus is not the main culprit. Nasal congestion typically occurs when the blood vessels in your nose become inflamed, causing the tissues that line your nostrils to swell up and obstruct air flow in and out of your nose.
For most children and adults, nasal congestion is nothing more than a nuisance, but in certain cases it can be a sign of something more serious, or can lead to other health conditions. Sinusitis, difficulty breathing, exacerbation of asthma, and sleep deprivation may all be associated with congestion, says Neil Schachter, MD, medical director of the respiratory care department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Congestion can also be a sign of an upper respiratory infection, bronchitis, pneumonia, or allergies. Severe congestion may even lead to problems with the ears, which can interfere with speech development in young children. And in infants, congestion can be particularly serious because it can interfere with their ability to nurse and cause difficulty breathing.
Evaluating Congestion Symptoms
Additional Guidelines for When to Call Your Doctor
What You Can Expect During Your Doctors Visit
Lingering Sinus Infection Or Chronic Runny Nose
A lingering sinus infection is different from a chronic runny nose. Chronic runny nose typically comes from allergies or other irritants in the air. However, this can turn into an infection over time.
When the sinuses become infected, the allergies, irritants, or viral cold have caused swelling in the nose thats blocked the drainage pathways. Consequently, fluid and mucous accumulate in the sinuses, where it has become infected with bacteria.
If youve been sick more than 10 days and begin to experience other symptoms like facial pressure, headache, and fever, youre dealing with more than a chronic runny nose.
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What Is The Best Way To Get A Sinus Infection
There are several ways to cure your sinus infection. The most effective method is to go see a doctor. The infection is contagious and should be treated immediately. Over-the-counter pain medicines and decongestants will not cure your condition. You must also seek medical advice if your symptoms are persistent or worsen. If you think you may have a sinus infection, you must see a doctor.
If you suffer from a chronic sinus infection, you must seek medical advice immediately. Natural treatments are a great option. These can be done without the use of prescription medication. A mixture of water, baking soda, salt, and a little vinegar can be used to fill one nostril. The solution should then be sucked into the other nostril. The mixture should then flow out. This helps in the removal of the mucus and allergens that are inside your nasal cavities. You can also use a bulb syringe or a neti pot. Both are convenient for home-use.
If your symptoms are mild, you can treat your infection by using natural remedies. You dont have to visit the doctor. Many natural treatments can help clear up your congestion and relieve sinus pain. These remedies dont require any prescription medicines, and are free of side effects. To do this, you should mix saline with water and use a bulb syringe to fill one nostril with the mixture. You can also use a neti pot to fill one nostril and spit out the solution through the other.
Can Sinusitis Be Prevented
Simple changes in your lifestyle or home environment can help lower the risk of sinusitis. For example, during the winter, use a humidifier to keep home humidity at 45%50%. This will stop dry air from irritating the sinuses and make them less of a target for infection. Clean your humidifier often to prevent mold growth.
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How Is Sinusitis Treated
Doctors may prescribe oral antibiotics to treat sinusitis caused by . Some doctors may recommend decongestants and antihistamines to help ease symptoms.
Sinusitis caused by a usually goes away without medical treatment. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and/or warm compresses can help reduce any pain. Over-the-counter saline solution is safe and helps wash the nose and relieve many symptoms caused by allergies, viruses, and bacteria.
How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed
Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:
- Discolored nasal discharge
- Bad Breath
If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.
Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.
Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.
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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.
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.
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Contact Us For Sinus Infection Treatment
If you or a loved one is suffering from a sinus infection, we are here for you. The Southern California Sinus Institute is Californias premier sinus center, and we offer a variety of treatments to alleviate your symptoms and address the root cause of your infection. Our services range from an in-office nasal endoscopy to deviated septum repair in more serious cases.
Whatever is causing your pain and discomfort, we can help. Contact us today to set up an appointment and take the first step in your journey to regain your health and vitality.
Schedule An Appointment Today!
Considered the best sinus surgeon in Los Angeles, Dr. Alen Cohen is an expert at successfully treating patients through the use of minimally invasive techniques for the surgical management of nasal and sinus disorders.
Antibiotics For Sinus Infections
Antibiotics are often prescribed for sinus infections for their effectiveness in treating the symptoms. But, these medications are not effective for all cases. They only work to kill the bacteria that cause the infection. If you have a viral infection, the only effective way to treat it is to use the bodys immune response. While over-the-counter medication may make you feel better, they do not fight the bacteria that cause the infection.
The reason that antibiotics are prescribed for sinus infections is because they are the only proven way to treat them. However, overuse of these drugs is detrimental to the publics health. Despite the potential risks, most patients will insist on antibiotics. In addition, antibiotics may lead to increased drug resistance in infectious organisms. It is important to note that standard antibiotics are only effective for treating bacterial infections and not for viral ones.
There are some ways to reduce the chance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the body. Infections caused by non-bacterial factors can also be treated without antibiotics. In this case, doctors can prescribe nasal rinses and antihistamines. In some cases, however, a physician may recommend an antibiotic. As long as your condition is not life-threatening, it is likely that you can get relief from the symptoms without the use of antibiotics.
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Check If You Have Sinusitis
Symptoms of sinusitis include:
- pain, swelling and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead
- a blocked nose
- a reduced sense of smell
- green or yellow mucus from your nose
- a sinus headache
- bad breath
Signs of sinusitis in young children may also include irritability, difficulty feeding, and breathing through their mouth.
The sinuses are small, empty spaces behind your cheekbones and forehead that connect to the inside of the nose.
Sinusitis causes the lining of the sinuses to swell up.
This stops mucus draining into your nose and throat properly, making you feel blocked up.
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How To Cure A Sinus Infection
One of the main issues with a sinus infection is not to be sure whether its a sinus infection or a cold. With almost similar symptoms, you wont be sure about calling the doctor. But thats not the only question to pop up in your mind. Another similar or rather a more significant issue is Read More »
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Sinus Infection Home Remedies And Prevention
Along with treatment, specific home remedies can help you improve faster and keep the symptoms at a tolerable level for the duration that the sinus infection exists. Also, you can even give yourself a better chance to prevent obtaining an acute sinus infection altogether with proper lifestyle changes in place.
For home remedies, rest and eating healthy is the best way to recover promptly. When the body is fighting off a sinus infection, or any infection for that matter, it needs proper rest and nutrients to do so. With that said, there are several quick, easy things to do while you rest, such as:
- Stay hydrated
- Clean out your nasal passageway
- Elevate your head while sleeping
- Place a humidifier in your home
- Take hot showers
Ultimately, it comes down to the focus on relieving the pressure built up in your sinuses. The best way to do that is to keep your nasal passageway from getting clogged. Using a warm compress, placing a humidifier in your home and elevating your head while resting is all excellent tactic to implement to keep the nasal passageway clear and breathing easily.
So how do you prevent a sinus infection from occurring in the first place? While it is not always possible to avoid, there are precautions you can take to help minimize your risk, including:
- Receiving a flu shot
- Keeping your distance from others who are sick
- Planning for an allergy attack
- Practice good hygiene
Over The Counter Medications For Sinus Infections
Over the counter sinus medication comes in a variety of forms. Some of them are more effective than others. The most common form involves a stuffy nose and a headache. Other forms involve the feeling that a 900-pound weight is sitting on your head. Whatever the case, the best sinus medicine is easily accessible at your local drugstore. Lets take a look at a few different kinds of over-the-counter drugs and what each can do.
Over-the-counter medications for sinus infections are usually made up of several types of medicines. They may contain a combination of antibiotics and decongestants. These should only be used if recommended by a healthcare professional. Some may contain antihistamines, which are used to treat inflammation caused by an allergic reaction. Other types of OTC drugs are formulated to thicken mucus and relieve pain.
Another type of over-the-counter sinus medication is an advil, a cough suppressant, and a decongestant. These are all designed to treat a specific ailment. If these do not work for you, your doctor may recommend a prescription for you. These over-the-counter medications are an excellent choice for treating your sinus infection. However, you should make sure youre getting the right dosage for your specific needs and symptoms.
How To Treat A Sinus Infection At Home
Sinuses are hollow chambers situated behind and around the nose. When these cavities get congested, they cause inflammation. This situation is known as a sinus infection. Sinus infection comes with lots of painful symptoms. So if you want to know how to treat a sinus infection, tag along. How to Treat a Sinus Infection Read More »
Can A Doctor Drain Your Sinuses
The fastest way to drain the sinuses is through surgery, but this treatment is only used when other treatments are not effective. Draining the sinuses is much more complicated than opening the drain in a sink or bathtub. Sinus congestion typically causes inflammation of the tissues. The actual amount of drainage can vary from person to person because the blockages are often caused by swollen sinus tissue.
When sinus infections dont clear up with non-invasive treatments, then your ENT might recommend office based procedures or sinus surgery to relieve your pain. An in-office balloon procedure may be recommended to widen the sinus openings to help with recurrent or chronic sinus infections. Surgery may be a treatment option if your sinus issues are caused by nasal polyps, a deviated septum, or other structural issues.
The goal of sinus surgery is to reduce the number of sinus infections you get. Removing excess tissue and opening up the nasal passages decreases the risk of infection by eliminating the conditions that lead to chronic infections. This treatment isnt right for every patient though, which is why its best to talk to an ENT about your individual situation.
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