When Should I Call The Doctor
- a cold that lasts for more than 710 days without improvement
- a cold that seems to be getting worse after 7 days of symptoms
- symptoms of allergies that don’t clear with the usual allergy medicine
Also call if your child shows any other signs of worsening sinusitis, such as:
- pain or pressure in the cheeks or around the eyes
- swelling around the eye
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How Is A Sinus Infection Diagnosed
To diagnose a sinus infection, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. They may check for pressure and tenderness by pressing a finger against your head and cheeks. They may also examine the inside of your nose to look for signs of inflammation.
In most cases, your doctor can diagnose a sinus infection based on your symptoms and the results of a physical exam.
However, in the case of a chronic infection, your doctor may recommend imaging tests to examine your nasal passages and sinuses. These tests can reveal mucus blockages and any abnormal structures, such as polyps.
A CT scan provides a 3-D picture of your sinuses. An MRI uses powerful magnets to create images of internal structures.
Your doctor may also use a fiberoptic scope, which is a lighted tube that passes through your nose. Its used for directly visualizing the inside of your nasal passageways and sinuses. A sample may be obtained during nasal endoscopy for culture testing to test for the presence an infection.
An allergy test identifies irritants that may cause an allergic reaction. A blood test can check for diseases that weaken the immune system, such as HIV.
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Which Medications Help Drain The Sinuses
Home remedies that open and hydrate the sinuses may promote drainage. Please refer to home remedies for information about how to:
- Increase daily fluids
- Take expectorants and pain relievers
- Irrigate the sinuses with saline
If environmental allergies cause sinusitis, antihistamines may help reduce swelling of the mucous membranes. Allergens stimulate white blood cells in the blood and tissues to release histamine into the circulation, which causes nasal congestion.
- Some of the older sedating OTC antihistamines are no longer recommended because they tend to dry out and thicken the mucus, making drainage more difficult.
- Non-sedating antihistamines such as fexofenadine , cetirizine , levocetirizine , loratadine , or desloratadine do not seem to dry out the mucosa. If nasal congestion is severe, a decongestant can be added .
Is It A Sinus Infection Or Cold
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a sinus infection and a cold as the symptoms can be very similar. Sinus infections often develop after a cold.
Sinusitis tends to last longer than a cold. Cold symptoms tend to get steadily worse, peaking at 35 days, then gradually get better. Sinus infections may last 10 days or more.
Some symptoms are more likely to be caused by sinusitis than a cold, including:
- swelling of the tissue in the nose
- green discharge from the nose
- a swollen or tender face
Unlike a cold, sinusitis can become chronic, which means it lasts longer than eight weeks. Chronic sinusitis causes swelling and irritation in the sinuses and usually develops after a person has had acute sinusitis. Sometimes the symptoms go away and then come back again.
Ongoing sinus symptoms even if they get better and then come back may indicate chronic sinusitis.
Sinus infections often go away on their own without medical treatment. There are, however, some things a person can do at home to relieve the bothersome symptoms.
To treat sinusitis symptoms with home remedies , try:
Avoid using decongestants on a long-term basis without talking to a doctor first because they can make congestion worse if used for too long.
- symptoms last longer than 10 days with no improvement
- fever lasts longer than 3-4 days
- the pain is very intense
- a person with a suspected sinus infection has a drugs that suppress the immune system, or organ failure
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Which Home Remedies And Otc Medications Soothe Sinus Infections And Sinusitis Symptoms And Headache Pain
Home care can help relieve sinus infection or sinusitis symptoms, open the sinuses, and alleviate dryness.
Home Remedies to Promote Drainage
- Drink plenty of water and hydrating beverages such as hot tea.
- Inhale steam two to four times per day by leaning over a bowl of hot water or using a steam vaporizer. Inhale the steam for about 10 minutes. Taking a hot, steamy shower may also work. Mentholated preparations, such as Vicks Vapo-Rub, can be added to the water or vaporizer to aid in opening the passageways.
OTC Medications to Thin Mucus
Expectorants are medications that help expel mucus from the lungs and respiratory passages. They help thin mucous secretions, enhancing drainage from the sinuses. The most common is guaifenesin . OTC sinus medications also can combine decongestants and cough suppressants to reduce symptoms and eliminate the need for the use of many prescription medications. Read label ingredients to find the right combination of ingredients or ask the pharmacist.
OTC Medications to Relieve Pain
Pain medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen can reduce pain and inflammation. These medications help to open the airways by reducing swelling. Acetaminophen can be used for pain and fever but does not help with inflammation.
Nasal Saline Irrigation
There are several methods of nasal irrigation, and a popular sinus remedy is the Neti-pot, a ceramic pot that looks like a cross between a small teapot and Aladdin’s magic lamp.
How Long Does A Sinus Infection Last
There are a couple of primary forms of sinus infections or sinusitis acute and chronic.
Acute sinusitis typically lasts between ten days and eight weeks, whereas, chronic sinusitis lasts longer than this.
Chronic sinusitis is ongoing and might seem as if it’s improving, but then it recurs with symptoms that can be just as bad as they were initially. Chronic sinusitis can last for months. Both acute and chronic sinusitis can be bacterial or viral.
From a clinical standpoint, it’s important to distinguish between “sinogenic” and “non-sinogenic” facial pain to avoid the wrong treatment.
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Antibiotics For A Severe Sinus Infection
You may be surprised that antibiotics are not listed as the first step in treatment. While many patients with sinusitis expect antibiotics, they aren’t usually needed if good drainage is achieved.
Antibiotics have potential disadvantages. They can trigger allergic reactions or cause side effects. Widespread use of antibiotics has encouraged the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria . And many of these drugs are expensive.
Still, if your sinusitis does not improve with two to four days of drainage therapy, or if it’s very severe to begin with, it probably needs an antibiotic to help get rid of the trapped bacteria. Antibiotic therapy for just three to seven days is generally as effective as traditional 10- to 14-day treatment for uncomplicated acute sinusitis.
Many bacteria can cause acute sinusitis the most common include some with fearsome names like Pneumococcus, Streptococcus, Hemophilus, and Moraxella. Unless you have a sinus puncture , there’s really no way to know which bacteria are causing your sinusitis. Cultures of your mucus or your nose, even if they are obtained through a nasal speculum, are not helpful because they are always contaminated by the many bacteria that live in every nose.
When To Schedule An Appointment With Your Ent Doctor
Acute sinusitis is a sinus infection that last less than 3 months. If symptoms persist longer than 3 months, you may have chronic sinusitis. To be careful, if symptoms last into the 2nd week, we advise scheduling an appointment with your ENT doctor.
You should see your ENT doctor immediately if you experience a fever, severe headache, swelling around your eyes and/or forehead, a stiff neck, worsening vision, and confusion.
For over 40 years, the ENT doctors at BergerHenry ENT Specialty Group have provided a wide array of advanced treatments for conditions of the ear, nose and throat to patients in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties.
We are Board Certified Otolaryngologists and attending surgeons at Abington Surgical Center, Blue Bell Surgical Center, Chestnut Hill, and Einstein Medical Center Montgomery.
Notable ENT Disorders
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How Is Sinusitis Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask you a lot of questions in order to develop a detailed medical history and find out about your symptoms. They will also do a physical examination. During the exam, your care provider will check your ears, nose and throat for any swelling, draining or blockage. An endoscope may be used to look inside the nose. In some cases, you might be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. If you needed an imaging exam, your provider would order a computed tomography scan.
What Is Sinusitis In Children
Sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses. These infections often happen after a cold or with allergies. There are 3 types of sinusitis:
Short-term . Symptoms of this type of infection last less than 12 weeks and get better with the correct treatment.
Long-term . These symptoms last longer than 12 weeks.
Recurrent. This means the infection comes back again and again. It means 3 or more episodes of acute sinusitis in a year.
The sinuses are air-filled spaces near the nose. They are lined with mucous membranes. There are 4 different sinuses:
Ethmoid sinus. Located around the bridge of the nose. This sinus is present at birth, and continues to grow.
Maxillary sinus. Located around the cheeks. This sinus is also present at birth, and continues to grow.
Frontal sinus. Located in the area of the forehead. This sinus does not develop until around age 7.
Sphenoid sinus. Located deep behind the nose. This sinus does not develop until the teen years.
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Distinguishing Between Chronic Sinusitis
Sinus infection headaches and migraines are simple to confuse because the symptoms and signs of both types of headaches might overlap.
Both migraine headache and sinusitis pain frequently become worse when you bend forward. Migraine can also be accompanied by a variety of nasal symptoms and signs, including:
A watery, clear nasal discharge
Migraines are often misdiagnosed as sinus headache in around 42% of individuals because they share:
Common areas with chronic rhinosinusitis
Also, migrainous and sinonasal conditions might often co-exist as comorbidities. Chronic rhinosinusitis might increase migraine-linked frequency and morbidity through aggravation of trigeminal nerve receptors.
Studies have found around 90% of individuals who visit their doctor for sinus headaches receive a migraine diagnosis instead. However, sinusitis typically isn’t aggravated by bright light or noise or associated with nausea or vomiting all common with migraines.
Sinusitis typically occurs after a cold or viral upper respiratory infection and includes:
Discolored, thick nasal mucus
Pain in upper teeth or one cheek
Sinus infection-related headaches frequently last days or longer, whereas migraines often last hours to a day or two.
Your Thyroid Might Be Out Of Whack
The butterfly-shaped gland in your throat pumps out a hormone that regulates your metabolism and body temperature. If its producing too little, metabolic changes can cause your subcutaneous tissues to get bigger. Everything fills out a little, says Dr. Stewart, referencing overall swelling.
Youll probably also feel chilly and weak and may notice that you have dry skin or that your periods have become irregular. Don’t freak: Your doctor can run a simple blood test and prescribe medication if necessary.
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Is There Permanent Relief From Puffy Eyes Caused By Sinusitis
The only way to get rid of swollen, puffy eyes is to treat the underlying problem. In this case, its chronic sinusitis, which does require medical attention. And thats where CT Sinus Center can help. When you first come in, well take the time to sit down with you and thoroughly discuss your symptoms and medical history before we begin up-to-date diagnostics. Once we determine exactly whats causing your puffy eyes, well find a treatment that is the right fit for your lifestyle.
If you also suffer from the other telltale symptoms of chronic sinusitis, you may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty, a noninvasive, in-house procedure done with local anesthesia, that promotes natural drainage and healing and reduces those unsightly bags. Those signs include:
- Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
- Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
Unlocking The Mystery Of Your Sinuses: Answers To 8 Common Questions
An empty space can be a lot of something. That’s the story of your sinuses four pairs of air-filled interconnected cavities located between your eyes and nose. Along with the nasal passages in the nose, your sinuses produce and circulate mucus.
While the sinuses are small, they can cause a lot of misery for some people. Your sinuses are connected to your external environments through the nasal passages, and your sinuses can be exposed to allergens, viruses, fungi and bacteria. This can lead to inflammation, congestion, excess mucus, pain, postnasal drip and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead. Each year, about 29 million U.S. adults are diagnosed with an infection in their sinuses, also called sinusitis.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Sinusitis
The symptoms of sinusitis depend on the age of the child. The following are the most common symptoms of sinusitis. However, each child may experience different symptoms.
In younger children, symptoms may include:
- runny nose
- lasts longer than seven to 10 days
- discharge is usually thick green or yellow, but can be clear
- nighttime cough
In older children and adults, symptoms may include:
- runny nose or cold symptoms lasting longer than seven to 10 days
- drip in the throat from the nose
Other Remedies For Symptom Relief
Staying hydrated can help thin mucus to ease congestion.
Drinking hot liquids such as tea and broth may help relieve your symptoms. Breathing in moist air may also help relieve the discomfort that comes with nasal congestion. Try breathing in steam from the shower, a bowl of hot water, or a mug of tea.
If your voice is hoarse, rest it by avoiding yelling, whispering, and singing.
Placing a warm compress over the inflamed area can help reduce pressure and provide relief.
damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.
If you smoke, consider quitting. Ask a doctor if you need help or are interested in quitting. Quitting may help prevent future episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.
Wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu seasons, to keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.
Using a humidifier during the cooler, dryer months may also help prevent sinus infections.
Talk with a doctor to see if allergies are causing your sinusitis. If youre allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies to relieve your sinus infection.
You may need to seek an allergy specialist to determine the cause of the allergy. The specialist may suggest:
- avoiding the allergen
- doing allergic immunotherapy
Keeping your allergies under control can help prevent repeated episodes of sinusitis.
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Is There A Right Way To Blow Your Nose
If you have a stuffy nose, trying to force yourself to blow your nose could make it worse. The best thing to do is to blow one side of your nose at a time gently into a tissue. You might want to first use some type of nasal rinse to loosen any material in your nose before blowing. Make sure you dispose of the tissue and then clean your hands with soap and water or an antimicrobial sanitizer.
Eye Signs And Symptoms
An infection in the sinuses can sometimes spread to the eye structures and cause a variety of signs and symptoms, depending on which tissues are involved. Profound swelling, typically affecting one eye, is a characteristic symptom. Eyelid swelling is often so severe that the affected eye can barely be opened. Other signs and symptoms that suggest eye-related complications of a sinus infection include:
- Swelling of the white portion of the eye
- Pus drainage from the involved eye
- Redness of the eye and/or eyelid
- Protrusion of the affected eyeball
- Pain with eye movement
- Inability to move the affected eyeball
- An infection in the sinuses can sometimes spread to the eye structures and cause a variety of signs and symptoms, depending on which tissues are involved.
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How Is Sinusitis Diagnosed In A Child
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as:
Sinus X-rays. An X-ray exam of the sinuses may help with the diagnosis.
CT scan of the sinuses. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body. They are more detailed than X-rays.
Cultures from the sinuses. A swab of discharge from the nose may be taken. The sample is checked for bacteria or other germs.