Chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis share many of the same symptoms. However, acute sinusitis is unique in that it occurs alongside a cold. In addition, the symptoms tend to clear up relatively quickly. With chronic sinusitis, the symptoms last longer and are associated with fatigue.
Nasal polyps. Polyps are soft, noncancerous growths that can block the nasal passages and sinuses, causing chronic sinusitis and breathing challenges.
Deviated septum. The nasal septum is the bone and cartilage that separates the nasal cavity into two halves. When this structure is displaced to one side, it can block the sinus passages, which can lead to chronic sinusitis.
Infections. Viral, bacterial and fungal respiratory tract infections can cause inflammation in the sinus membranes and prevent them from draining properly.
Allergies. The inflammation that develops in response to allergies can block your sinuses from draining and increase their susceptibility to inflammation.
Acute sinusitis is caused by the common cold. In some cases, a bacterial infection may develop as well. In addition, people who suffer from allergies, hay fever, a deviated septum, nasal polyps, nasal tumors, cystic fibrosis and HIV are all at an increased risk of suffering from acute sinusitis.
To arrive at a definitive diagnosis of acute or chronic sinusitis, your Miami doctor will begin by collecting information about your symptoms. He or she will then perform a nasal endoscopy, which involves inserting a thin, flexible and lighted instrument in the nose to visualize the sinuses.
From there, imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI may be ordered to obtain a detailed picture of the sinuses and reveal inflammation and nasal obstructions that can’t be viewed with an endoscope. If your doctor suspects that allergies are contributing to your condition, testing may be performed to identify the allergen that is causing your symptoms.
In most cases, acute sinusitis will improve on its own once the virus clears. However, your Miami doctor may recommend treatments to help manage your symptoms in the meantime. For example, you may use a saline nasal spray several times a day to rinse the nasal passages and corticosteroids to treat inflammation. Nasal decongestants and over-the-counter pain relievers may also be used on a short-term basis to keep you comfortable.
If your acute sinusitis has a bacterial component, your doctor may implement a wait-and-see approach to determine if the infection will clear on its own. If it worsens or appears severe, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed.
The goal of chronic sinusitis treatment is to ease your symptoms while addressing the underlying condition. For symptom management, your doctor will likely recommend a blend of saline nasal irrigation and nasal, oral or injected corticosteroids.
Most cases of sinusitis are very responsive to home remedies. In fact, many SFENTA patients are able to find effective symptom relief by simply implementing the following home care strategies:
1. Use a humidifier. Dry air can exacerbate sinusitis and lead to more inflammation. Running a humidifier in your home can keep your sinuses healthy and promote proper drainage.
2. Breathe in steam. Run a hot shower and sit in the bathroom to breathe in steam. This can soothe inflamed nasal passages and relieve your symptoms.
3. Apply warm compresses. Sit in a reclined position and place a warm compress over your eyes to ease irritated nasal passages and relieve sinus pain and pressure.
4. Use a nasal saline solution. Regularly flushing the nose with salt water (saline) can keep your nasal passages moist, which can help with sinusitis symptoms. Nasal irrigation with saline is also an effective way to clear out mucus and other debris.
5. Stay hydrated. When experiencing bouts of sinusitis, make sure you drink plenty of water and other fluids to thin the mucus and encourage your sinuses to drain.
If you suffer from chronic or acute sinusitis symptoms, help is available. Contact SFENTA Miami today to identify the underlying cause of your condition and obtain the targeted treatments you need.
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