Types Of Chronic Sinusitis Or Chronic Sinus Infections
While acute sinusitis often involves an infection, chronic sinusitis does not. Sometimes, the long-term illness is caused by an infection that hasn’t cleared up properly, but most often the exact cause of chronic sinusitis isn’t known.
But clinicians may categorize chronic sinusitis into one of three types depending on the features present.
The most common type of the illness, chronic sinusitis without nasal polyposis, involves swelling and inflammation of the mucous membranes by various non-polyp factors, such as allergies or irritation and infections.
Chronic sinusitis with nasal polyposis, on the other hand, involves nasal polyps that are large enough to clog the sinus. It’s not always clear why some people develop these polyps and others dont.
In chronic sinusitis with fungal allergy, people experience a strong allergic reaction to fungi in the air, which causes their mucous membranes to produce a thick, dense mucus.
How To Get Relief Without Antibiotics
More than 20 million Americans will have at least one bout of sinusitis this year. Most will be uncomfortable, and many will miss work or school. Nearly all will recover from their sinus infections, but an unfortunate few may develop complications. If you understand sinusitis, you can reduce your chances of developing the problem and if sinusitis strikes, you’ll know how to speed your recovery and lower your risk of complications.
Tips For Treating Chronic Sinus Infections
No matter the season, having a cold is never convenient. Its even worse when your cold turns into a sinus infection. A sinus infection will stick around long after symptoms of an upper respiratory infection are gone. You might even know its a sinus infection because you get sinus infections frequently. Perhaps your doctor diagnosed your sinus infection after you just couldnt seem to get better. After all, since almost 30 million Americans suffer from sinusitis, your doctor likely treats them a lot.
The question is, when do you need to see a specialist? If your sinus infection just isnt going away, or if you seem to get recurrent sinus infections, it may be time to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
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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.
Why Do I Always Get Sinusitis
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.
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Will My Sinus Infection Clear Up On Its Own
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The first few weeks of the common cold aren’ fun, but the acute sinusitis that can develop afterwards doesn’t help either. Unfortunately, sinus congestion and the common cold go hand in hand. Acute sinusitis frequently is caused by the common cold, but also can be caused by allergies and bacterial and fungal infections.
Sinus Congestion Vs Sinus Infection
Like a mystical eastern religion, in the schnoz, everything is flow. And when this flow is interrupted, problems develop. Our sinuses drain into our nose through small holes called ostia, the Latin word for small hole.
When the skin lining the nose and sinuses gets swollen most commonly due to a viral infection, less often due to allergies those holes plug up and the sinuses cannot drain. Thats sinus congestion, a deep pressure and tightness. You know it when you feel it.
The vast majority of cases of rhinosinusitis are triggered by a cold virus, according to the Infectious Disease Society of Americas clinical practice guideline. That virus cripples the mucus-making and cilia-sweeping cells. In addition, the firefight between our immune system and the invader causes the tissue to swell, and battlefield debris piles up because it cannot be removed.
Typically, a viral infection and the congestion it brings will clear up in seven to 10 days. An antibiotic cannot kill a cold virus, so sufferers just have to wait it out with analgesics, decongestants, hot tea whatever works for them.
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What Can I Do To Find Relief From A Sinus Infection
- Place a warm compress over your face to help relieve pressure.
- Breathe in steam by placing a towel over your head and leaning over a bowl or sink full of hot water to allow the steam to relieve congestion. WARNING: Make sure that the water is not too hot because steam can cause burns.
- Rinse the sinuses. Dr. Takashima recommends using the squeeze bottle over the neti pot for effective nasal irrigation.
- Keep the nasal passages moist by using a saline nasal spray.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
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.
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What You Should Do
Dr. Sedaghat recommends that you treat colds symptomatically. I tell my patients do whatever makes them feel better. Pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help. Home remedies that can improve nasal symptoms include saltwater rinses for the nose, Dr. Sedaghat suggests. He also points out that maintaining a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids can help keep your energy levels up.
Sinus infections are treated the same way as a cold. If bacteria cause the infection, antibiotics are an option. But many bacterial sinus infections get better on their own.
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Complications Of Sinus Infection
Sinus inflammation can spread to the bones and soft tissues of the face and eyes. This can cause:
- Cellulitis of the face or around the eyes
- Abscesses of the eyes
Left intreated, sinus infections can also lead to serious intracranial complications, including blood clots within the cavernous sinus, pus between the skulls and dura mater , and meningitis.
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How To Avoid Catching A Cold On A Plane: Three Strategies
To reduce your risk of getting a respiratory infection while on a flight, here are three specific actions you should take:
How Can You Tell The Difference Between Chronic Sinusitis And Other Issues Like Migraine Headaches
You probably cant tell the difference between all of these things. So, in cases where you have a constant headache, or facial pain, or tooth pain, you should call your healthcare provider to get a diagnosis. This is especially true if you have tried different therapies and have not been able to find relief. Your primary healthcare provider might even find it difficult to diagnose you properly and might suggest you see a specialist. This would be an otolaryngologist, commonly called an ear, nose and throat doctor.
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What Is Chronic Sinus Infection
Chronic sinusitis is a long-standing inflammation of your sinuses that lasts for 12 weeks or longer at a time. Sinusitis is also known as rhinosinusitis . So, we use the two terms interchangeably. When inflamed, nasal passages and sinuses become swollen and blocked. Chronic sinusitis interferes with the normal drainage of the mucus. Too much mucus builds up in your nose and sinuses, making them stuffy.
What Is The Best Treatment For Sinus Infection
For those who suffer chronic sinusitis, the symptoms of sinus infection are easily recognizable. Viral, fungal, and bacterial sinus infection symptoms can feel very similar. Because we share common symptoms, it is easy to believe that all sinus infections are the same and all sinus infections have similar treatments. The truth is, your sinus infection is unique and your treatment should be customized to meet your specific needs, achieve your individual goals, and fit within your budget.
The best treatment for your sinus infection is the one that is designed specifically for you. The most successful physicians understand this and take a comprehensive approach to design a treatment plan that makes use of a wide variety of tools. Depending on your health condition and your unique needs, these tools may include:
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Is Your Sinus Infection Acute Or Chronic
A short-term sinus infection is often referred to as acute sinusitis. Most cases of acute sinusitis last about a week, but this type of short-term sinus infection can last up to four weeks. If you suffer from a sinus infection that lasts longer than 12 weeks despite treatment from your doctor, its considered chronic sinusitis.
Why Sinus Infections Come Back
Do you get four or more sinus infections each year? This is known as a recurring acute sinus infection. Unfortunately, some people are more prone to recurring sinus infections. While acute sinusitis is often the result of a cold or other respiratory infection, recurring sinus infections are usually caused by something else like an allergy, nasal polyps, or a deviated septum.
Our Manhattan, NY, and East Hampton, NY, ENT doctors can help you treat sinusitis. Once were able to pinpoint the root cause, we will be able to effectively treat it and provide you with the relief we know you need from recurring sinusitis.
If you get severe or persistent sinus infections, Dr. Nass in East Hampton, or Manhattan, NY can help you get it under control. Simply call 734-4515, or 658-0027 to schedule an evaluation.
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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.
Rare Cases Can Turn Serious
Antibiotics also can help ward off rare but potentially dangerous complications that arise when a sinus infection spreads to the eyes or brain, Dr. Sindwani says.
Complications around the eyes are the more common of the two. These complications can cause redness, swelling around the eyes and reduced vision, and even lead to blindness in a severe form known as cavernous sinus thrombosis. Serious cases are immediately treated with IV antibiotics. Patients are usually admitted to the hospital for a CT scan to see if fluid needs to be drained, Dr. Sindwani says.
Also in rare cases, sinus infections in the rear center of ones head can spread into the brain. This can lead to life-threatening conditions like meningitis or brain abscess, Dr. Sindwani says.
Before antibiotics, people would die from sinusitis, he says. But he emphasizes that such complications are unlikely. In most cases, the bacterial infection goes away, especially if you dont have underlying medical problems.
Its important to monitor your symptoms if you suspect a sinus infection. If the condition lingers or worsens, call your doctor.
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Why Are Sinuses Susceptible To Infection
Acute sinusitis often follows the cold virus. The reason for this is not usually the cold virus itself, but the inflammation caused by the cold virus.
More than 85% of people with colds suffer from inflammation in the sinus cavities. The inflammation and congestion caused by a cold will obstruct the sinuses, creating an environment in the sinus cavities hospitable for bacterial growth, as mucus will not drain and eliminate such pathogens as it would normally. Inflammation and congestion of nasal passages is known as rhinitis, and is such a common precursor to sinusitis that doctors often refer to many cases of sinusitis as rhinosinusitis.
Home Remedies For Sinus Infection
The internet and retail stores are full of products that claim to be ânatural cures for sinus infectionâ. Many of these claims are not backed up by science and some of these products can pose significant risk to your health. However, there are effective home remedies for sinus infection and cough along with other symptoms. A successful comprehensive treatment plan may include proven home remedies. Explore home remedies and speak with your physician to see if they should be included in your treatment plan.
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Have You Experienced Any Of The Following Symptoms For 12 Consecutive Weeks Or Longer And Are Over The Age Of 18
- Facial pain, pressure, or fullness
- Difficulty breathing through nose
If you have chronic sinusitis, your care provider will likely advise you on the next step to take.2 Common recommendations include:
- using a humidifier, taking hot showers, or boiling water on the stove to inhale the warm, humid air
- using over-the-counter medicines and
- saline nasal irrigation kits to flush out the sinus cavities
If you do have chronic sinusitis, your care provider may provide you with other recommendations, depending on the details of your unique case.
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How Do Sinus Infections Start
Sinusitis occurs when the lining of the sinus or nasal cavity becomes inflamed. What can start as inflammation in your sinuses from a respiratory infection, allergies or environmental pollutants can spark a sinus infection when the lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed and swollen, causing mucus to become trapped and germs to grow.
“Once you have a cold or upper respiratory tract infection, that virus can then settle into the sinuses and cause inflammation as well,” said Dr. Mas Takashima, an otolaryngologist and chair of Houston Methodist ENT Specialists. “About 95% of sinusitis is caused by a virus making it much more common than bacterial sinusitis. Viral sinusitis is also much more infectious as well.”
Certain conditions, such as having allergies, asthma or a respiratory infection, can make people more susceptible to getting chronic sinus infections, and it is important that these patients be evaluated to address the cause and not just the sinusitis symptoms.
“There are many causes of chronic sinusitis. “Patients with a weakened immune system are more prone to getting recurrent acute sinusitis,” explains Dr. Takashima. “Sometimes, however, the issue may be anatomy, such as a deviated septum , scarring from previous sinus surgery, or nasal polyps, which result from chronic inflammation in the nose. Once the polyps get to a certain size, they rarely regress on their own and they narrow the sinus drainage pathways.”
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