Sinusitis is an infection in the sinus cavities. If you suffer with persistent inflammation or swelling of the tissues that line your sinuses, you could have chronic sinusitis. You’re not alone. Chronic sinusitis is one of the most common health problems in the United States. Almost 37 million people in the U.S. suffer from sinusitis every year.
Types of sinusitis
For many people, a sinus infection is only an occasional illness that responds well to at-home or antibiotic treatment. For others, the pain of sinusitis lasts for months. Sinusitis may be treated with traditional medical interventions or surgery. Not all sinusitis is the same. Types of sinusitis include:
- Chronic sinusitis: Symptoms persist for eight weeks or longer.
- Acute sinusitis: Cold-like symptoms develop suddenly.
- Sub-acute sinusitis: Sinus inflammation lasts from four to eight weeks.
- Recurrent sinusitis: Several attacks of sinusitis occur during a single year.
Respiratory infections and smoking frequently contribute to chronic sinusitis in adults. In children environmental factors commonly lead to sinusitis. These conditions include allergies, infectious illnesses, use of pacifiers, drinking from a bottle while lying down and second-hand smoke.
Common signs and symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Swelling of mucous membranes in the nasal passages
- Drainage that is yellow or green instead of clear
- Stuffy nose and nasal congestion
- Facial pain that worsens when bending over
- Visual disturbances
- Loss of smell
- Bad breath
- Teeth pain or toothache
Home treatment for sinusitis
You may try treating occasional bouts of sinusitis at home with these therapies.
- A vaporizer or humidifier (inhalation of steam or cool mist)
- Warm compresses (apply to your nose/sinuses to relieve pain)
- Nasal saline drops (relieve congestion)
- Increase fluid intake (drinking water thins nasal secretions)
Professional treatment of sinusitis
When home treatments don’t work, it’s time to turn to the ENT doctors at Louisiana Ear Nose Throat and Sinus (LENTS) for treatment of your sinusitis. Visit one of our specialists and describe your symptoms. You’ll receive a detailed physical examination and the appropriate tests to aid in diagnosis. These may include blood tests, X-rays, mucosal cultures, allergy testing, CT scans of the sinuses and endoscopy.
Sinusitis is a clear indication that an underlying cause exists. Managing your chronic sinusitis begins with identifying and addressing contributing factors and triggers. The LENTS specialist may prescribe nasal sprays or oral decongestants to decrease nasal congestion. If necessary, oral steroids can be used to reduce inflammation. Antihistamines and antibiotics may also be prescribed. When medical interventions are not effective surgery or balloon sinuplasty may be performed.