For many, it’s still allergy season. That means congestion, headaches, and sinus infections. But what is a sinus infection exactly? What is the difference between an acute vs. a chronic one? Keep reading: our guide will explain the answers to sinusitis.
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What Is a Sinus Infection?
Sinus infection, also referred to as sinusitis, is inflammation of the tissues in the sinuses. 28.9 million adults were diagnosed with sinusitis in 2018 alone. Sinuses are ordinarily filled with air, but during a sinus infection, those cavities fill with mucus.
A sinus infection can be a symptom of another illness or triggered by an external source. Below are some of the symptoms you may experience with sinusitis:
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Postnasal drip
- Pain, pressure, or swelling in the face
- Poor sense of taste and smell
- Sore throat
- Tooth pain
The symptoms vary from person to person. It should be noted that there’s also a difference between an acute sinus infection and a chronic one.
The Difference Between Chronic and Acute Infections
The symptoms of chronic and acute sinusitis are pretty similar. The main difference is the length of time the infection lasts. Acute infections last for two to four weeks and usually follow other illnesses like colds. Seasonal allergies can also trigger temporary nasal inflammation. These types of conditions are typically able to be treated at home using over-the-counter medication and being patient.
On the other hand, chronic sinus infections last for 12 weeks or more. Bad breath and fatigue are also common symptoms. A doctor should evaluate chronic conditions. People at risk for chronic sinusitis are asthmatics, those with conditions affecting their immune system, allergy sufferers, smokers (and those exposed to it), as well as people with nasal deformities.
Treating a Sinus Infection
Sinus infections are usually short-lasting and cause some discomfort for a week or two. For these infections, doctors typically recommend using medications such as decongestant, pain relievers, saline nasal spray, mucolytics, and antihistamines. Avoid irritants like cigarette smoke, allergens, dust, or strong odors.
Humidifiers are another excellent option for helping clear your nasal passages. If you are at risk for chronic infections, your doctor may give you a prescription medication. When it comes to chronic sinus infections, treatment is a little bit more involved.
Nasal deformities like polyps or a deviated septum can lead to recurring infections, so taking medication isn’t always a viable option. Sinus surgery might be the best way to go. Specialists can perform nasal surgeries to remove polyps or fix deviated septums endoscopically. A common and useful procedure for chronic sinus infections is a balloon sinuplasty. This procedure involves inserting a tiny, flexible balloon catheter into the nasal cavities and expanding it gently. The mucus and fluid buildup will then be flushed out, relieving pressure and possibly fixing the problem for good.
If you’ve dealt with chronic sinus infections and need a solution, look for “balloon sinuplasty near me.”
Sinus infections can follow a cold or be triggered by external factors like allergies or smoke. The symptoms are unpleasant and can last upwards of 12 weeks. If you have chronic sinusitis, you can find relief with the non-invasive procedure mentioned above. We hope this post has answered your question, “What is a sinus infection?”. If you liked this, check out our site for more content on everything from health and wellness to finances and more.