Anyone can get a sinus infection. Like a common cold, it comes with a stuffy nose, irritated sinuses and a sore throat. It’s not life-threatening, but it can cause you to put your life on hold while you recover. Instead, get your symptoms checked at Century Medical and Dental Center, where a specialist can confirm whether it’s just a cold or something worse that can be treated. Call today for an appointment.
Sinus infections occur when a simple cold or hay fever worsens, causing the spaces inside your nose — the sinuses — to swell and inflame. This inflammation hinders drainage and proper breathing. Sinus infections are usually considered acute when they result from a cold, but some people develop problems with chronic sinusitis that affects breathing and drainage on a continuous basis.
While acute sinusitis usually resolves by itself within ten to fourteen days, if your symptoms continue longer than twelve weeks, even with medical treatment, you have chronic sinusitis. If your symptoms linger, check with your Century Medical and Dental Center doctor in Brooklyn about proper treatment. Chronic sinusitis may happen for a number of reasons, including:
- Growths in your sinus cavity
- Long-term sinus infections
- Swelling of the lining of your sinuses
Symptoms of Sinus Infections
All ages are vulnerable to sinus infections. The symptoms for both acute and chronic sinusitis are similar, differing only in the amount of time the effects linger. Some of the symptoms you may experience include:
- Congestion or blockage of your nasal passages, making breathing difficult
- A thick, green or yellow mucus discharge either from your nose or from the back of your throat
- Tenderness, pain, pressure or swelling along the sinuses making your face throb or contributing to a serious headache
- Fever symptoms
- A phlegmy cough from the mucus in your throat
- Pressure in your ears
- A throbbing ache in your teeth
- Bad breath
Check with your internist if your symptoms continue for longer than a week, especially if you have a persistent or high temperature. Seek medical help if you experience confusion, vision changes or a stiff neck, as these symptoms may indicate a more serious infection or an underlying medical issue that needs to be addressed. Since your doctor is part of a multi-disciplinary team at Century Medical and Dental Center, specialists are available to diagnose and treat a wide range of underling conditions.
You may be at higher risk for developing sinusitis if you are prone to allergies and hay fever, are exposed to smoke, have an abnormality with your nasal passages, or have a concurrent medical condition such as HIV/AIDS or cystic fibrosis. If you develop nasal polyps, have ongoing allergies, develop consistent respiratory infections or a deviated septum, either congenital or from an injury, your risk of chronic sinusitis increases.
Sinus Infection Treatment
Self-care techniques used to treat a cold often help resolve sinus infections as well. Your doctor may recommend:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers for facial discomfort or chest ache from chronic coughing or headaches
- Saline nasal sprays to help lubricate the nasal passages that dry out from mucus and help wash out allergens and other irritants
- Over-the-counter or prescription-strength decongestants to keep the mucus loose and your cough productive
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays to treat inflammation and keep it from returning
- Antibiotics to help clear possible bacterial infections that occasionally result if your sinus infection lingers or your symptoms progress or worsen
- Allergy shots or immunotherapy, which help your body react appropriately to allergens instead of going into overdrive and possibly causing recurring or chronic sinusitis
- Aspirin desensitization under careful medical supervision, if your sinusitis results from a reaction to aspirin
Extremely resistant cases of chronic sinusitis may warrant surgery, but it’s rare that a sinus infection gets this bad. Using a flexible, thin tube with a light at the end — a device called an endoscope — your Brooklyn doctor explores your nasal passages, removing any polyps and widening narrow sinus openings to give you more space for correct drainage and reducing inflammation.
Get as much rest as possible to give your body time to recover from the cold and infection. Using a neti pot or some other careful form of nasal rinsing, along with saline solution or warmed water helps rinse out your sinuses and relieve discomfort. Keep a humidifier handy to make sure your surrounding air stays moist and warm as cold, dry air aggravates your symptoms.
Chronic sinus infections and sinusitis lower your quality of life and sometimes force you to bed. You may not be able to afford time out of a busy lifestyle. Take steps to avoid getting sick, especially if you’re at high risk for sinusitis, tend to develop sinus infections multiple times a year, or have been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis.
Discuss with your doctor any concerns you have regarding symptoms, triggers, tests and treatment options. Ask for recommendations for how you can prevent recurring sinus issues. You may need to see a specialist to ensure your best sinus treatment, and at Century Medical and Dental Center, specialists for nearly every medical and dental discipline are available in the same office. Contact your MD in Downtown Brooklyn to schedule an appointment.