Sinusitis can cause irritating or painful symptoms including facial pressure, headaches, postnasal drip and congestion. Some patients may experience chronic or acute sinusitis, affecting their quality of life long-term. At Silver Falls Dermatology, our allergy and immunology experts can help patients in Oregon and Washington find sinusitis solutions.
What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is commonly referred to as a sinus infection. It is caused by inflammation of the tissue lining the sinus. Some providers may also refer to this condition as rhinosinusitis. There are four basic types of sinusitis:
- Acute bacterial sinusitis, which causes cold-like symptoms typically lasting 10 or more days
- Chronic sinusitis, which lasts at least 12 weeks
- Subacute sinusitis, which causes symptoms lasting between four and 12 weeks
- Recurrent acute sinusitis, which occurs four or more times within one year
What Causes Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is caused by a bacterial, viral or fungal infection which results in swelling and/or blockage of the sinuses. This may be the result of common issues including:
- Cold or flu
- Deviated septum
- Weakened immune system
Sinusitis is more common among those with allergies, asthma or structural issues such as nasal polyps. In addition, smoking can increase risk of sinusitis. In infants or young children, risk factors can include spending time in daycares or using pacifiers and bottles while lying down.
Sinusitis symptoms can be very similar to those of co-occurring illnesses or conditions including allergies and the common cold. The most common symptoms include:
- Facial pressure or headache
- Post nasal drip
- Thick yellow or green nasal discharge
Sinusitis Treatment Options
Most sinusitis cases are treated with decongestants, allergy or cold medications and, if necessary, nasal saline irrigation. In these less severe cases, over the counter medications are sufficient. Your provider will also recommend drinking fluids to help relieve viral infections.
Sinusitis lasting more than 10 days may require antibiotics as well as prescription decongestants or intranasal steroid sprays.
Chronic or long-term sinusitis may require further treatment which focuses on the underlying cause. In many cases, this involves more extensive allergy treatment. Options include topical antihistamine sprays or oral antihistamines and leukotriene antagonists. Your expert provider may also recommend intranasal steroid sprays or oral steroids in addition to saline solution or other nasal rinses. For patients whose sinusitis persists after this treatment, CT scans may be necessary to screen for structural issues. Surgery may be required to address issues such as polyps or deviated septum.