Sinus infections fall into acute and chronic categories. Symptoms are similar, but the acute version refers to an infection that clears up within four weeks. Chronic sinusitis hangs on for more than 12 weeks or can be diagnosed in a person who experiences more than three sinus infections in one year. Sinusitis sufferers report symptoms including:
- Discolored nasal discharge (cloudy, yellow, or green)
- Nasal congestion
- Facial swelling and tenderness
- Throat irritation and cough
- Sinus headache
Sinus infections typically result from a cold virus or allergies. They sometimes develop due to a bacterial infection, nasal polyps, fungus, or a deviated septum.
Diagnosis & Treatment Options
At Greater Austin Allergy, one of our allergists will discuss symptoms with you and do an exam to determine if you have a sinus infection. In certain cases when a sinus infection has not responded to treatment, a mucus culture can provide a clearer picture of the infection source (could be bacteria or fungus). If an allergy could be at the root of your problem, a skin test may clarify which allergen is causing your nasal inflammation. Determining the root source of a sinus infection can help clarify an individual patient’s course of treatment.
Our goals in treating your sinus infections are to reduce nasal inflammation and eliminate whatever caused the initial infection. Steam inhalation and use of a nasal saline spray can help ease discomfort at home. Antibiotics, nasal decongestant sprays (used only for a short time), antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays, and antifungals are all potential treatments for sinus infections. In rare cases when other options have not worked, surgery may help eliminate the problem for good. Let us work with you to determine the best way to send your sinus infections packing.
Sinusitis (Sinus Infection) Facts
About 35 million Americans have sinusitis at least once each year.
“Itis” means inflammation or swelling often due to infection, and “sinus” is the location of the swelling on your face.
People with allergies, asthma, nasal/sinus blockages, or weak immune systems are at greater sinus infection risk.
More than 50 percent of people with moderate to severe asthma also have chronic sinusitis.