Sinus infections, or sinusitis, are one of the most common health concerns across the globe today. Many symptoms of the common cold are the same as those of a sinus infection, and it can be easy to mistake one for the other. However, while a cold is caused by a virus, your sinus infection can be the result of a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics.
If you suspect that you are suffering from a sinus infection and not just a cold, it is important that you see an ENT specialist for proper diagnosis of your symptoms. In fact, any cold-like symptoms that have lasted for more than 10 days should be checked out. When your sinus infection is diagnosed and treated early on, you can avoid other associated symptoms and complications.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
Some of the most common symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Nasal congestion and stuffiness
- Postnasal drip
- Nasal discharge that is green or dark yellow
- Tooth pain
- Facial tenderness
- Frontal headaches
- Extreme tiredness
- Bad breath
Sinusitis is similar to rhinitis, which describes the symptoms accompanying nasal inflammation and irritation. It only involves the nasal passage and it could be caused due to a cold or allergy.
There are many options for treating your sinus infection that depend on whether your sinusitis is chronic or acute. Usually, treatment begins with a physical examination, CT imaging of the sinuses, and a sample of your nasal discharge to test for bacteria. Here are some of the treatments:
- Antibiotics – Used for bacterial sinus infections, your ENT specialist will prescribe a course to take regularly for a set amount of time.
- Nasal Decongestant Sprays – When used for a few days at a time, this is a great topical treatment that shrinks the nasal passage and helps with sinus drainage.
- Antihistamines – These block inflammation and fight the allergy symptoms leading to swelling of the nasal passage and sinuses.
- Corticosteroids – Available on prescription, these help with reversing inflammation in the sinus and nasal passages.
With the latest technological advancement in surgical procedures, todays’ sinus treatments do not involve the removal of bone or tissue, and they cause little or no bleeding. The recovery period is also shorter, with most patients returning to their normal routine within 24 hours. The most effective sinusitis treatments include:
Endoscopic surgery – Surgery can be performed within the nose using an endoscope and a camera. During this procedure, the inflamed tissue is trimmed away from the nasal passages. Cases of chronic sinusitis with inflammation that refuses to dilate from medication benefit most from this surgical procedure. Cases of recurrent infections can also be treated with endoscopic surgery.
Balloon Sinuplasty – This is also a treatment for chronic sinusitis where a flexible and small device is inserted into the nostrils where it is inflated to dilate inflamed sinuses without the need to remove any tissue. It offers quick and easy relief without the need for invasive methods.
Schedule a Consultation
You don’t have to live with sinusitis symptoms, which can be uncomfortable and difficult to manage. To get some relief and treat your symptoms, contact our office by calling or filling out our online form. Our ENT specialists can discuss your options during a consultation.