What are the sinuses?
The paranasal sinuses are located within the skull and are covered by a thin mucus-producing lining. They play a very important role in cleaning, moisturizing, and warming the air we breathe.
Let’s take a look at sinus infections:
Acute bacterial sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavities that is caused by bacteria and is usually preceded by a cold, allergy attack, or irritation by environmental pollutants. Unlike a cold, however, bacterial sinusitis requires a proper diagnosis from our office, and treatment with an antibiotic to cure the infection and prevent future complications.
Mucus normally collects in the sinuses and drains into the nasal passages, but when you have a cold or an allergy attack; your sinuses become inflamed and are unable to drain. Without drainage, this can lead to congestion and infection. Your ENT will diagnose acute sinusitis if you have up to 4 weeks of purulent nasal drainage accompanied by nasal obstruction, facial pain-pressure-fullness, or both. The sinus infection is likely bacterial if it persists for 10 days or longer, or if the symptoms worsen after an initial improvement.
Acute sinusitis becomes chronic when you have frequent sinusitis, or the infection lasts more than three months. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may be less severe than those of acute, but untreated chronic sinusitis can cause damage to the sinuses and cheekbones that sometimes can require surgery to repair. Antibiotic therapy for bacterial sinusitis may be an appropriate treatment for your sinusitis.
If your ENT thinks that you have chronic sinusitis, intensive antibiotic therapy may be prescribed. However, if medical therapy fails, in-office sinus surgery under local anesthesia may be needed to eliminate physical obstructions that may contribute to sinusitis.
From acute sinusitis to chronic sinusitis, facial pain and allergies, it is important to visit your ENT doctor for further diagnosis and treatment. Take the next step toward sinus relief visiting your ENT doctor immediately.
Your sinuses require an evaluation if you:
- Suffer from recurring or frequent bouts of acute sinus infection.
- Chronic sinusitis as documented by a medical professional.
If you consistently suffer from any of these symptoms:
- Facial pain
- Postnasal drip
- Stuffy nose
- Decreased sense of smell and taste
- Bad breath
Want to learn more about sinusitis and sinus infections from Richard Nass, MD?
Call our Manhattan, NY office at (212) 734-4515 for more information.