Sinusitis is one of the most common conditions treated by primary care physicians, right up there with the common cold. Both can begin with sneezing, a stuffy nose and a sore throat, but while a cold will generally get better on its own in 10 days or less, sinusitis tends to linger and recur. So much so, that it can become a chronic problem and be quite difficult to deal with.
Because colds and flus are often viral, doctors often recommend treating both in their early stages with rest, hydration, and over the counter remedies to treat symptoms, such as nasal irrigators, nasal sprays, and decongestants. But once you’ve passed the 10-day mark, you’re in sinusitis territory.
Commonly referred to as a “sinus infection,” sinusitis is marked by inflammation of the lining of the nose and sinuses, accompanied by postnasal drip and yellow or green discharge. Sinusitis can cause considerable discomfort, with patients experiencing cold-like symptoms such as:
- Nasal congestion, difficulty breathing through the nose
- Swelling around the eyes and cheeks
- Facial pain, pressure, and headache
- A thick yellow or greenish nasal discharge or postnasal drip
- Reduced sense of smell or taste
- Bad breath
- Ear, jaw, or teeth pain
- Sore throat
- Disturbed sleep or snoring
Sinusitis is considered chronic when it lasts for more than 12 weeks, and because it resembles the common cold, chronic sinusitis can be somewhat difficult to diagnose. In fact, patients often suffer for months before they seek care, which is a shame because sinusitis can be treated and even prevented by addressing the underlying causes. Recovery begins with an accurate diagnosis, and our board-certified physicians have extensive training and experience in diagnosing and treating chronic sinusitis.
During your initial exam, your doctor will inspect the upper airway, nasal and sinus passages, and allergy tests may be recommended if allergies are suspected. To address or eliminate the underlying cause of the problem, your doctor may recommend therapies including:
- Anti-inflammatory medications, decongestants or antihistamines
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots) if the condition is associated with allergies
- Treatment for immunodeficiency disease
Don’t let chronic sinusitis keep you from enjoying life. If you are experiencing the symptoms of sinusitis and you’re not improving, or if you’re getting worse, it may be time to see one of our board-certified physicians at Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates of Tampa Bay for treatment. Call (813) 971-9743 today for an appointment, or submit an appointment request online. With five Tampa area locations to serve you, relief is just around the corner.