Sinusitis is irritation or infection in your sinus cavities. The sinus lining becomes swollen, blocking the drainage path for mucus in your nose, so your sinuses fill up. It is often caused by viruses or bacteria that invade your sinuses during a cold and hang around after. If your “cold” lasts longer than 10 days, or if you had improved and then your cold returned, you may have sinusitis.
If you’ve had four weeks of cloudy or colored drainage from your nose, along with headaches, congestion, stuffiness, and pain or pressure in your face, or around your eyes, you may have acute sinusitis. If you’ve had sinusitis for 12 weeks, is considered chronic.
Our doctors can help you determine if your sinusitis is caused by a virus or a bacterial infection. If you’ve been sick for less than 10 days and are not getting worse, your sinusitis is probably viral. If you’ve been sick for ten days and aren’t improving at all, or you improved but then got worse again, your sinusitis is likely bacterial.
Viral sinusitis may be treated with saline nasal irrigation, steroid nasal sprays, and over the counter headache meds. Bacterial sinusitis may be treated with an antibiotic. Chronic sinusitis, which is caused by inflammation rather than infection, is treated by saline nasal irrigation and steroid nasal sprays. Treating other conditions, such as underlying asthma, allergies, nasal polyps, or immune issues may help. In some cases, chronic sinusitis requires surgery to widen your nasal passages and let mucus out.
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