What are some common sinus problems and treatment? According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, around 31 million US population suffers from sinus infections every year. The common condition causes inflammation in your sinus and nasal passages. This inflammation is known as sinusitis, which is of different types, causing different problems.
The small air pockets known as sinuses are present behind your nose, forehead, and cheekbones, as well as between the eyes. These produce a thin liquid that traps germs to protect the body against harmful pathogens.
Often, allergens and bacteria can cause excessive mucus formation, which blocks the sinus cavities. On top of that, excess mucus begins to thicken, building up in your sinuses. This encourages harboring of bacteria and other germs, causing sinus infections.
If you’re experiencing sinus symptoms for more than two weeks, you might need to see an ENT specialist. Here is a quick overview regarding sinus problems and treatment options.
Types of Sinusitis
Identifying the causes of different types of sinusitis can help you understand your condition better. The different sinuses present in your body are:
- Paranasal sinuses: in head and near the eyes and nose
- Ethmoidal sinuses: between the eyes
- Maxillary sinuses: below the eyes
- Sphenoidal sinuses: behind the eyes
- Frontal sinuses: above the eyes
Anyhow, the maxillary sinus cavity is the one that most commonly becomes infected.
Acute Bacterial Sinusitis
Acute sinusitis refers to the sudden onset of symptoms like facial pain and runny or stuffy nose. This may result from a viral infection that comes along with the common cold. Typically, these symptoms last for 1 or 2 weeks. In case of a bacterial infection, the duration might exceed another two weeks.
Chronic sinusitis is characterized by nasal congestion and drainage, facial pressure and pain, and a reduced sense of smell. The symptoms of this type of sinus infection prevail for a minimum of 12 weeks. Chronic sinusitis is often a result of bacterial infection alongside structural nasal issues or allergies.
Subacute sinusitis is a type of sinus infection that is caused to due to a bacterial infection. In some cases, it occurs alongside seasonal allergies and colds. The symptoms of subacute sinus include facial pain and runny or congested nose. Your subacute sinus may last for 4 to 12 weeks.
Treatment Options for Sinusitis
The key to choosing the right treatment option is correctly identifying the cause. An ENT specialist can medically diagnose your sinus infection and recommend the best suitable treatment method.
Here are the different approaches your ENT doctor might take for treatment.
Painkillers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can relieve discomfort caused by sinusitis. However, you should not take these for more than ten days.
Your ENT doctor might prescribe you antibiotics if a bacterial infection is blamed for your sinusitis. You will need to take these for 10 to 14 days, typically.
Decongestants come in different forms, including pills and nasal sprays. These medicines reduce the amount of mucus in your sinus cavities.
Steroids can reduce swelling of sinus membranes. They come as inhalers, but ENTs also recommend oral steroids in severe cases.
Some sinuses are a result of persistent allergies. In this case, anti-allergic medications like antihistamines can help.
Undergoing surgery may be the best choice in case of recurrent acute an=d chronic sinusitis infections. An ENT surgeon can remove blockages to relieve your infection.
Sinus Problems and Treatment: Conclusion
If your sinusitis symptoms don’t seem to go after ten days, you might need to take a trip to an otolaryngologist’s office. A doctor can medically diagnose your sinusitis and treat it. If you live in NYC, Dr. Michael C. Burnett can help you.
Visit our practice or give us a call for a consultation.
Ear Nose Throat of New York
Dr. Michael Burnett MD
115 East 57th Street
New York, NY 10022