Many annoying respiratory conditions will go away without medical intervention. The old adage, treat a cold and it will last seven to 10 days; don’t treat a cold and it will last a week to a week and a half is true. But there are respiratory conditions where it makes to sense to seek treatment sooner than later. If you see the ENT, or ear, nose and throat doctor, when you first suspect you have sinusitis, the chances of treating the condition improve. Also, the ENT can treat sinusitis and help you prevent subsequent sinusitis episodes.
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavities. These cavities are air-filled spaces in the bones of the head and face. They are very important in the job of delivering filtered and humidified air to your lungs. They are lined with mucus producing membranes. When the lining of these cavities gets inflamed, it is usually from an infection. Commonly these infections will occur after a bout with one of the many cold viruses. Sinusitis is generally a secondary infection. That means it is the result of something else. That “something” may be:
Sinusitis may be sudden (comes on quickly and responds to treatment) or chronic (stubborn infection that takes weeks to resolve). Recurring sinusitis is also referred to as chronic sinusitis.
Symptoms Of Sinusitis
Sinusitis symptoms are similar to the symptoms from a cold. However, there will be pain in the sinus areas. This may be under the eyes, above the bridge of the nose, and even in the upper teeth. In addition you may have:
Fever of 101°F
Dulled sense of smell
Thick mucus that is yellow or green colored
A cold will go away on its own; but it may leave behind sinusitis If you have any of the above symptoms for more than 10 days, or if your cold symptoms suddenly get worse after seven days, you should consult an ENT. An ENT is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat your sinusitis. They can also identify underlying conditions and advise you in how to keep sinusitis from recurring and becoming chronic.
How ENTs Treat Sinusitis
First your ENT will take a medical history. Be sure to be prepared to let the ENT know when the symptoms started and the progression of symptoms. The ENT will then perform an examination. If your sinusitis is caused by nasal polyps, the nasal polyps will be treated as well. In addition to a physical and visual exam, tests just as a CT scan, MRI, X-ray or endoscopic exam may be necessary.
Medical Intervention. Depending on the type of sinusitis you have, you may be prescribed a course of antibiotics. If your infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics are ineffective and will not be prescribed. For chronic sinusitis, you may need to take several different courses of antibiotics. If your sinusitis is fungal, an antifungal medication may be prescribed. In addition, you may be prescribed nasal or oral corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. NSAIDs may be recommended to reduce pain.
Surgery. Surgery may be required if the infection has spread to the bones, if the infections do not respond to medical intervention, or if nasal polyps are involved.
Call The ENT
You can prevent problems with chronic sinusitis if you catch it early. This means if you feel a sinus headache coming on and it does not respond to home treatment such as the use of saline sprays and nasal irrigation, breathing warm moist air, or using warm moist compresses to the sinus areas, call the ENT. Your ENT can treat sinusitis and bring relief from the pain and symptoms of sinusitis.