Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
Sinus disease (rhinosinusitis or commonly known as sinusitis) is caused by inflammation of the sinuses and the nose. There is a difference between acute sinusitis (sinus infections) and chronic sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis is an inflammation of the cavities around your nasal passages (sinuses) caused by a variety of infections, including the common cold, a bad viral upper respiratory infection (URI) or bacteria. This is what is commonly known as a sinus infection.
Chronic sinusitis is when that inflammation continues for more than three months and can be caused by a variety of conditions or is associated with allergies, asthma or nasal polyps.
- Nasal obstruction
- Discolored nasal drainage
- Smell loss
- Facial pain and pressure
- Ear fullness
Diagnosis and Treatment
Treatment depends on the type of sinusitis diagnosed.
Acute rhinosinusitis is typically caused by a virus and lasts 7 to 14 days. Antiviral medication is not needed to fight these viral infections, as the body is able to fight them on its own. Over-the-counter cold medications can help with symptoms. Sometimes nasal steroid sprays are recommended to help decrease the length of a cold or viral sinus infection.
More rarely, these viral infections can create an environment that allows bacteria to grow, sometimes resulting in a bacterial sinus infection. If symptoms of discolored nasal drainage persist for 10 to 14 days, an antibiotic may be prescribed to treat the bacterial infection. If you experience any unusual symptoms such as eye swelling or severe fever with rhinosinusitis, please seek medical attention.
Diagnoses are based on the patient’s symptoms and findings from an endoscopic exam. Sometimes a sinus CT scan is ordered. Because there are a variety of conditions that can cause the same symptoms as chronic rhinosinusitis, we follow a strict clinical practice guideline to reach a diagnosis.
While there is no cure for chronic rhinosinusitis, there are treatments available to alleviate your symptoms. Initial treatments include medications such as topical nasal steroid sprays, allergy treatments, and nasal saline irrigations to help reduce swelling and allow proper drainage.
When medical therapies are not enough, surgery is sometimes recommended to help with drainage, the exchange of air in your sinuses, and the delivery of medications to decrease inflammation.
Meet Our Team
Our Sinus Center is comprised of surgeons and supportive staff specially trained to care for your sinuses and related nasal disorders.
Did you know?
Sinus symptoms are in the top ten diagnoses primary care physicians make.
The hallmark symptom of acute sinusitis is discolored drainage.
Because sinus infections are frequently diagnosed, many patients are taking antibiotics unnecessarily.