Woman with scrunched face and hands on her nose.

Living With Chronic Sinusitis

If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, you know firsthand the pain and frustration of the condition. When sinusitis lingers for at least 12 weeks, it is considered chronic. Several home remedies can help relieve the symptoms, but treatment from an ENT can help you achieve long-term relief. 

What is chronic sinusitis?

Sinusitis is a swelling or inflammation of the mucous membranes of the sinuses, the hollow spaces located inside your nose and head. Usually caused by viruses, sinusitis causes the sinuses to become blocked and filled with fluid, allowing germs to grow and cause an infection. This can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches, facial pressure, and pain in the ears. Acute sinusitis commonly clears up on its own, whereas chronic sinusitis lingers and often requires care from an ENT. 

Do I have chronic sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis may be caused by allergies, especially hay fever or pollen allergy. Other causes include nasal polyps, a deviated septum or infections in your lungs, windpipe, or nose. In some cases, there may be an underlying condition such as a weakened immune system, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or cystic fibrosis. If your sinusitis has not resolved after 12 weeks, it may be considered chronic. Additional symptoms of chronic sinusitis include: 

  • Postnasal drip (mucus running down the back of your throat)
  • Discomfort or pain in your face (for example around your eyes and cheeks)
  • Headaches (caused by pressure due to swelling in your sinuses)
  • Hardened mucus that blocks your nasal passages
  • Congestion makes it hard for you to breathe through your nose

Will my chronic sinusitis ever resolve?

Depending on the causes of your sinusitis,  several treatments are available that could bring you relief. For short-term relief, over-the-counter medications may help alleviate headaches and pressure from inflammation and swelling, while antibiotics treat the infection. Nasal sprays can help clear your nasal passages but should not be used too frequently. If allergies are causing your chronic sinusitis, an ENT can help treat the allergies to relieve the condition. Corticosteroid injections, antifungal treatments, allergy medications, or in some cases, surgery or medications to remove nasal polyps may be the best option. 

Only a full evaluation of your condition will reveal the most effective treatment plan. If you are suffering from chronic sinusitis that does not clear up, we invite you to contact South Florida ENT Associates to diagnose and treat you for long-term relief. 

What can I do to make living with chronic sinusitis easier?

While addressing underlying causes, some home remedies can help give you some relief. Inhaling steam from hot water helps moisturize the sinuses and can loosen mucus. Nasal irrigation using a neti pot or a bulb syringe effectively relieves congestion, and warm and cold compresses over your nose, cheeks and forehead may help too. 

Do not let chronic sinusitis go untreated.

If you have had sinusitis for over 12 weeks and it is not improving, it is important to seek the care of an ENT. Untreated sinusitis can cause complications that make it difficult to breathe and may cause permanent damage to your vision or your ability to smell. If you or your child are suffering from symptoms of chronic sinusitis, make sure you get the help of a qualified medical professional. 


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