Midtown ENT

Sinusitis: When Your Symptoms Aren’t Just a Common Cold

misc image

Sinusitis: When Your Symptoms Aren’t Just a Common Cold

Breathing is essential to life, and your sinuses play an important role in air traveling through your head and into your body. This part of the body is collectively known as your paranasal sinuses and are the hollow spaces in the specific bones in your skull (maxillary, sphenoid, ethmoid, and frontal) that connect to airflow and drainage passages that also give your voice resonance through vibration.

Problems that affect this part of your head directly affect how well you can breathe, and sadly, many upper respiratory illnesses (colds, flu, allergies) can make life difficult for your sinuses. Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, can result from these and other conditions but can also lead to various problems and may not be treated the same way. To find out more about this condition and what separates it from the common cold or similar illnesses, let’s examine what sinusitis is, its causes and symptoms, and how it is treated.

If you live in the West Midtown or Atlanta, Georgia, area and you’re struggling with the symptoms of upper respiratory problems like sinusitis, Dr. Shivan Amin and his skilled medical staff at Midtown ENT can help you find relief.

Understanding sinusitis

Your sinuses are lined with tissue that produces cilia and mucus, which helps lubricate and clean air that passes through your nose, and sinus infections inflame it, leading to swelling, stuffy or runny nose, pain, and other symptoms. This illness takes on different forms, with acute infections lasting a few weeks, subacute types lasting one to three months, the chronic form lasting at least three months, and recurrent acute infections lasting a couple of weeks but coming back many times in a year.

Causes and symptoms

While the aforementioned upper respiratory illnesses can lead to sinusitis, they can also be caused by bacterial or fungal infections, and other conditions like nasal polyps and tooth infections can lead to similar issues. Whatever the cause, it generally causes fluid buildup, which allows for the spread of germs that make the infection possible.

We’ve mentioned some basic signs that many upper respiratory conditions may have in common, but sinusitis can also have other symptoms. These include facial tenderness (under the eyes, on your forehead and cheeks, or the bridge of your nose), sinus headaches, sore throat, hoarse voice, bad breath, fever, and coughing, depending on the cause.

Treatment options

In many cases, these infections can go away on their own, but there are ways to manage the symptoms until they do or you need medical attention. These methods include warm compresses to loosen fluid and ease swelling, nasal washes, saline sprays, over-the-counter antihistamines to reduce swelling and nasal decongestants. 

If the illness lasts over 10 days with a fever lasting longer than four days, intense pain, and possible immune system issues, you should seek medical attention. Several treatments can help depending on the cause and severity of your sinusitis, including antibiotics, corticosteroids, or even surgery to treat structural issues or nasal polyps. 

Respiratory illnesses like the common cold and sinusitis have many similar signs but important differences that will need to be treated in separate ways. So, if you’re dealing with nasal congestion, runny nose, and other signs that can be sinusitis or other illnesses, make an appointment with Dr. Amin and Midtown ENT today to get the right treatment.