Every year, about 1 billion Americans have at least one episode of acute viral sinusitis and 37 million develop bacterial sinusitis. While it’s a common condition that often resolves itself, the doctors at Boerne Family Medicine can determine the underlying cause and offer treatment to alleviate symptoms. Since sinusitis can be chronic and caused by allergies, don’t hesitate to call the office in Boerne, Texas, or book an appointment online, so you don’t have to suffer from ongoing congestion, nasal discharge, and facial pain.
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Sinusitis Q & A
What causes sinusitis?
Sinusitis or rhinosinusitis is an inflammation of the membranes lining the paranasal sinuses. Your paranasal sinuses are located on both sides of your nose where they run from the bottom of your nose up to your forehead.
Paranasal sinuses are lined with specialized cells that make mucus. This mucus typically drains from the sinus into your nose to keep it moist and free of bacteria. When the sinuses become blocked, they fill with fluid, bacteria thrive, and an infection develops.
The causes of sinusitis include:
- Common cold
- Allergy (allergic rhinitis or hay fever)
- Nasal polyps
- Deviated septum
The common cold and allergies make the mucous membranes swell while nasal polyps and a deviated septum can block drainage ducts. As a result, mucus gets trapped inside the sinus.
What symptoms are caused by sinusitis?
If you have sinusitis, you have at least two of the four primary symptoms:
- Thick, discolored discharge from the nose or draining into the throat
- Nasal congestion, making it hard to breathe
- Pain and tenderness around your eyes, nose, forehead, or cheeks
- Reduced sense of smell and taste in adults or a cough in children
You may also develop any of these additional symptoms:
- Ear pain
- Cough that worsens at night
- Sore throat
- Ache in upper jaw and teeth
How is sinusitis treated?
Your doctor at Boerne Family Medicine tailors your treatment according to the type of sinusitis, the severity of your symptoms, and the underlying cause.
Acute sinusitis is a temporary infection, so treatment focuses on helping you feel better while the infection heals. Over-the-counter decongestants, nasal saline irrigation, and medications often provide sufficient relief. If your symptoms don’t improve, you may need prescription medications or antibiotics if a bacterial infection is the underlying cause.
Treatment for chronic sinusitis focuses on controlling the underlying condition. In most cases, allergies cause chronic sinusitis, so your doctor at Boerne Family Medicine may perform allergy testing and begin immunotherapy. Other possible treatments are available to eliminate mucus or inhibit inflammation.
When should you schedule an appointment?
Please call the office or book an appointment online if you’ve had several bouts of sinusitis or sinusitis symptoms that last more than seven days.
Contact Boerne Family Medicine immediately if you have signs of a severe infection: high fever, swelling around your eyes, severe headache, or a change in vision.