If you are missing work due to a sinus infection that won’t go away after a few weeks, you could be suffering from chronic sinusitis. While it is possible to live with acute or chronic sinusitis when symptoms are mild, some indicators may suggest that you visit your doctor. If your sinus ailments are lasting well over a few weeks or impacting your quality of life, you should seek the advice of a medical professional at Advanced Ear, Nose & Throat Associates in Atlanta, Georgia.
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an infection and inflammation of the sinus. Sinusitis causes yellow or green mucus that is similar to the extra mucus produced during a cold or flu. The additional thickness of the mucus can cause a blockage that makes it possible for bacteria to grow. This is often accompanied by pressure, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, and stuffy nose. Sinusitis can also cause headaches, ear infections, and fever.
Acute sinusitis is a case of sinusitis that accompanies a cold or flu. The symptoms may last beyond the cold or flu, but they should not last more than a few weeks at the most and will go away without a doctor’s intervention.
What Is Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis is a long-lasting sinus infection that often seems less severe than typical sinusitis and may be less symptomatic. The main issue with this type of sinusitis, however, is that it lasts much longer than normal sinusitis. The symptoms are usually most pronounced during the morning when the nasal drainage and congestion is at its worse. When sinusitis becomes chronic, the cause is usually a chronic infection or allergies.
When Does Sinusitis Require a Doctor’s Visit?
To avoid further complications and a worsening condition, seek medical attention when sinusitis is chronic. Headaches and infections can interrupt your daily life and cause you to miss work. If a case of sinusitis lasts longer than a week or two, it is likely to be chronic and should be checked by a doctor.
While acute sinusitis can improve on its own after the cold or flu has passed, chronic infections will require a short course of antibiotics to address. In many cases, only an antibiotic will clear up the infection. This is why it is important to visit a doctor for an evaluation if you suspect a chronic case of sinusitis.
Symptoms of Infection
When pressure is felt in the area under your eyes and behind your nose, this is likely to be caused by an infection in your sinuses. The pressure can also be felt in your ears and teeth. The infection can progress further to cause headache and fever if not treated early.
Sinus infections are often accompanied by an especially hard pressure build-up in the morning due to fluid accumulating during the night. Sneezing, stuffy nose, and nasal drip are often experienced the most in the morning. The pressure and headache may also be the most severe in the morning.
You may also experience difficulty sleeping due to waking up coughing. You may also have a runny nose throughout the night due to sinusitis. This may be slightly relieved by sleeping with your head elevated.
Further Medical Issues
Chronic sinusitis can lead to lifelong medical issues if not treated. Untreated sinusitis can cause chronic cough, throat infection, ear infections, asthma, and bronchitis. If you already have asthma, you are in danger of the condition worsening if your sinusitis is not treated. The inflammation associated with sinusitis can cause difficulty breathing from the nose and even lead to sleep apnea.
Furthermore, an infection from sinusitis does not just stay isolated to one part of the body. The bloodstream offers the perfect channel for the infection to spread. If unchecked, the infection can spread to the eyes and brain, causing blindness or double vision.
What Can a Doctor Do to Treat Chronic Sinusitis?
Acute sinusitis normally requires time to run its course and will go away after the cold or flu. Chronic cases will need more attention than acute sinusitis. Diagnosis is usually based on the amount of time the patient has exhibited symptoms. An examination of the ears, nose, and throat will reveal any physical ailments that may be contributing to the sinusitis. Polyps, a deviated septum, and redness from infection are among the physical causes of sinusitis.
The doctor will also ask you if you experience any headaches and the frequency of occurrence. If you have allergies, the doctor may ask about interactions that may have contributed to the infection. The doctor may also probe further to ask about mucus secretions and other side effects.
Nasal Endoscopy and CT Scan
In certain circumstances, the doctor may recommend an endoscopy to further examine you. The doctor will numb you with lidocaine and administer a spray that will thin the lining of the nose to increase space for the small endoscope. The small endoscope is inserted into the nasal opening, and the doctor will check for swelling, redness, drainage, polyps, and other causes of your discomfort.
The doctor may also collect a culture to be tested in a laboratory. If the doctor requires more information, a CT scan may be requested to further address the sinusitis.
Get Back Your Life
If you have been experiencing a sinus infection that just won’t go away, it is time to go to a doctor for an evaluation. Contact Advanced Ear, Nose & Throat Associates in Atlanta, Ga today. Our medical professionals can provide consultation and treatment for sinusitis.