about sinusitis

Understanding Your Chronic Sinusitis Is The First Step

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Chronic Sinusitis (Sinus Infection) Symptoms & Causes

Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, is the inflammation or swelling of the sinus cavities that blocks airflow and drainage. The sinuses consist of four pairs of air-filled cavities in the bones surrounding the nose and eyes. The sinuses work together to warm or cool inhaled air, humidify it and remove dust and allergens. When the sinuses don’t drain properly and mucus stops flowing, the sinuses become blocked, which is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and fungus.1

There are 2 types:

acute sinusitis

Acute Sinusitis

Acute sinusitis is a temporary sinus infection that typically lasts less than four weeks, and often clears up on its own.1,2

Acute Sinusitis — Acute sinusitis is a temporary sinus infection that typically lasts less than four weeks, and often clears up on its own.1,2

chronic sinusitis

Chronic Sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis is when there are two or more sinusitis symptoms and swelling/inflammation lasts 12 weeks or longer and it is not always treatable by antibiotics.1,2

Chronic Sinusitis — Chronic sinusitis is when there are two or more sinusitis symptoms and swelling/inflammation lasts 12 weeks or longer and it is not always treatable by antibiotics.1,2

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Many treatment options offer temporary relief, or they may not work at all. This can be extremely frustrating and depressing for patients suffering with sinus infections. However, chronic sinusitis symptoms are manageable. There are new sinusitis treatment options and advances, and finding effective, longer-term relief starts with education.

Finding the path to the most effective long term relief for your sinusitis starts with identifying your symptoms and root causes.

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Symptoms

Only a person who suffers from chronic sinusitis understands the pain and frustration. It can rob you of your sense of smell and taste, throb like a headache, make it difficult to breathe and nearly impossible to sleep. Overall, it can greatly affect your quality of life.2,3

Symptoms Include1,2:

facial pain

Facial pain and pressure

bad breath

Bad breath

nasal discharge

Nasal discharge

nasal congestion

Nasal congestion and blockage

lost taste and smell

Lost or reduced sense of smell and/or taste

headache

Headaches

postnasal drip

Post-nasal drip

Do Any of These Symptoms Sound Familiar?

Take the sinusitis self-assessment

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Causes of Chronic Sinusitis

Finding the root cause will help identify the best treatment path.4

allergies

Allergies

respiratory problems

Respiratory Infections,
Such as a Cold

bacteria

Bacterial or Fungal
Infections

nasal polyps

Nasal Polyps

anatomical problems

Deviated Septum

What’s the difference between acute and chronic sinusitis?

Acute Sinusitis

Chronic Sinusitis

What causes it?

Environmental factors, seasonal allergies, viral or bacterial infections

Long-term inflammation deep in nasal passage; polyps; asthma; deviated septum; certain immune disorders

What are the Symptoms?

Same for both - facial pain/pressure; nasal discharge/congestion/blockage; reduced sense of smell/taste; headaches

Same for both - facial pain/pressure; nasal discharge/congestion/blockage; reduced sense of smell/taste; headaches

How long does it last?

4 weeks or less

12 weeks or more

How is it treated?

Decongestants; antibiotics; steroids

Steroids; surgery

What’s the difference between acute and chronic sinusitis?

What causes it?

Acute Sinusitis - Environmental factors, seasonal allergies, viral or bacterial infections

Chronic Sinusitis - Long-term inflammation deep in nasal passage; polyps; asthma; deviated septum; certain immune disorders

What are the symptoms?

Both Acute & Chronic Sinusitis - facial pain/pressure; nasal discharge/congestion/blockage; reduced sense of smell/taste; headaches

How long does it last?

Acute Sinusitis - 4 weeks or less

Chronic Sinusitis - 12 weeks or more

How is it treated?

Acute Sinusitis - Decongestants; antibiotics; steroids

Chronic Sinusitis - Steroids; surgery

Diagnosis

Because sinusitis has symptoms that are common to other conditions, it often leads to a misdiagnosis. To properly diagnose sinusitis, a specialist should be consulted as some detective work is involved. ENT’s, or ear, nose, and throat specialists, can investigate symptoms and review clinical and family history as well as perform a proper exam.

They can look for obscure nasal obstructions using special tools or imaging, such as a Sinus CT scan. Imaging exams enable them to better see inflammation inside the nose and sinuses that is hard to detect during a basic exam. Finding the root cause of your symptoms is the first step in determining the best course of treatment.4

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Don’t Suffer in Silence

There are many options to treat or manage sinusitis

Learn about sinusitis treatments

References

  1. What to do about sinusitis. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. 2020. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/what_to_do_about_sinusitis.
  2. Sedaghat AR. Chronic sinusitis. Am Fam Physician. 2017;96(8):500-506. Available at: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2017/1015/afp20171015p500.pdf.
  3. Mahboobeh M, Schleimer RP, Keshavarzian A. Sleep disruption in chronic rhinosinusitis. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2017. 15(5):457-465. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5967413/
  4. Chronic sinusitis. Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-sinusitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351661.

Safety Information

The purpose of the site is to help create awareness about sinusitis and treatment options for the disease. Please note that information contained on this site is not medical advice. It should not be used as a substitute for speaking with your physician. Always talk with your physician about diagnosis and treatment information.