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Your Lingering Sinus Infection Could Be Sinusitis
You’ve been feeling off for the last few days, and your head is starting to hurt. You thought it was just a sinus infection, but you’re not sure if this could be something more serious, such as sinusitis. It’s important to know what might be causing it so you can seek treatment!
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is the inflammation of your sinuses, which are cavities filled with air in your skull. The lining around these spaces can become inflamed due to several factors such as infection or allergies. This leads to pain and discomfort, like pressure on one side of the face, congestion, runny nose, headache, cough and fever. Sinusitis can also lead to a bad taste in your mouth and difficulty breathing through your nose.
Sinuses have different functions depending on their location. The frontal sinuses are located in the forehead between your eyebrows and create mucus to help keep your nose from drying out. The maxillary sinuses are found on your cheekbones on the bottom sides of your nose; they produce mucus and have a substantial effect on the tone of your voice. Finally, the ethmoid sinuses; are located just under your eyes next to the top half of your nose, and these also produce mucus and grow as you age and affect the sound of your voice through puberty.
The most common cause of sinusitis is a viral infection, but bacteria, allergies or fungus can also cause it. Sinus infections often follow a cold or other respiratory infection.
What Might Be Causing It?
There are many potential causes of sinusitis, the most common of which is a viral infection. Other possible causes include bacteria, fungi, parasites, allergies and asthma or structural problems within the nose such as a deviated septum, nasal polyps or tumors. In some cases, the cause of sinusitis cannot be identified. In addition, sinusitis can be acute or chronic.
Acute sinusitis is a relatively short-term condition that typically lasts less than four weeks. On the other hand, chronic sinusitis is a more long-term illness that can last for months or even years. Therefore, it is essential to see a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of sinusitis so that the cause can be identified and treated.
What Are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?
Both acute and chronic sinusitis symptoms include fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, facial pain and pressure and loss of smell or taste. People with sinusitis may also experience headaches, bad breath and fatigue in some cases. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor right away.
What Can I Do to Prevent Sinusitis?
It is not always possible to prevent sinusitis because the causes are often unknown or cannot be avoided. However, there are some things you can try to reduce your risk for developing this condition: avoid allergens, wash hands frequently, use saline washes, get plenty of rest, eat nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables and take supplements that support immune function and avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.
If you are experiencing symptoms of sinusitis, see your ENT right away to find out the cause and get treatment. There are many potential causes of this condition, so it is crucial to get a diagnosis from a qualified specialist. Treatment for sinusitis depends on the cause.
How Is It Treated?
Most cases of sinusitis improve without prescribed treatment within two to four weeks, but some people may require prescribed medication to help clear up their infection. Decongestants and pain relievers such as ibuprofen can provide relief from symptoms. In addition, nasal steroid sprays can help reduce inflammation in the nose.
If allergies cause your sinusitis, taking an antihistamine might also provide relief from symptoms. However, you should only take these medications when prescribed because otherwise, they could worsen your condition rather than help it! In addition, you may need to use a saline solution sprayer several times throughout the day to keep your nasal passages moist and clear of irritants that irritate.
If you have chronic sinusitis, meaning for more than four weeks, antibiotics can be used, but there are possible side effects, so discuss this option with your ENT doctor before trying them out!
Should I Visit an ENT Doctor?
If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms listed above for more than a few days, it is important to seek medical attention. An ENT doctor can help diagnose the cause of your sinusitis and provide treatment options. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to clear out any blockages in your sinuses that are causing the inflammation.
Don’t wait until it’s too late; early diagnosis and treatment are vital in preventing the infection from becoming more serious! So, seek medical attention as soon as possible if you have any concerns about your sinus health.
If you are looking for an ENT doctor that you can trust to help you learn more about your sinusitis, contact one of our doctors from Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates at Sylva: 828-586-7474, Franklin: 828-524-5599, Murphy: 828-835-1014 and New Asheville: 828-458-8100.