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ENT Surgical Associates Michigan



Have you ever had a cold or allergy attack that wouldn’t go away? If so, there’s a good chance you actually had sinusitis. Experts estimate that 37 million people are afflicted with sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health conditions in America.


Unlike a cold, or allergy, bacterial sinusitis requires a physician’s diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to cure the infection and prevent future complications.

Normally, mucus collecting in the sinuses drains into the nasal passages. When you have a cold or allergy attack, your sinuses become inflamed and are unable to drain. This can lead to congestion and infection. Your doctor will diagnose acute sinusitis if you have up to 4 weeks of thick green-yellow nasal drainage accompanied by nasal obstruction, facial pain-pressure-fullness, or both.  The sinus infection is likely bacterial if it persists for 10 days or longer, or if the symptoms worsen after an initial improvement.

Sinus infections can be categorized into two types, acute (short-term) and chronic (on-going) sinusitis. When you have frequent sinusitis, or the infection lasts three months or more, it could be chronic sinusitis. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may be less severe than those of acute; however, untreated chronic sinusitis can cause damage to the sinuses that sometimes requires surgery to repair.

What are the Symptoms of Sinusitis vs. a cold or allergies?


Do I have Sinusitis?

Click here “Sinusitis?” to find the answer.


Tips to Prevent Sinusitis

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To avoid developing sinusitis during a cold or allergy attack, keep your sinuses clear by:

    1. Using an oral decongestant or a short course of nasal spray decongestant
    2. Gently blowing your nose, blocking one nostril while blowing through the other
    3. Drinking plenty of fluids to keep nasal
discharge thin
    4. Avoiding air travel. If you must fly, use a nasal spray decongestant before take off to prevent blockage of the sinuses allowing mucus to drain
    5. If you have allergies, try to avoid contact with things that trigger attacks. If you cannot, use over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines and/or a prescription nasal spray to control allergy attacks.

How is Sinusitis Treated?

Most cases of acute sinusitis (symptoms less than 4 weeks), and many cases of chronic sinusitis (persistent or recurring symptoms for 12 weeks or more) respond well to treatment with medication. To reduce congestion, the physician may prescribe nasal sprays, nose drops, or oral decongestants. Antibiotics are prescribed for any bacterial infection found in the sinuses (antibiotics are not effective against a viral infection). Antihistamines may be recommended for the treatment of allergies.

Mucus is produced by the sinus cavities to act as a lubricant. The mucous is moved across membrane linings toward the opening of the sinus by the action of millions of microscopic cilia (a mobile extension of a cell). Inflammation from allergy or infection causes membrane swelling and the sinus opening to narrow, thereby blocking mucus movement. If antibiotics are not effective, sinus surgery may be required to correct the problem. The goal of sinus surgery is to enlarge the natural opening to the sinuses, restoring the sinus drainage pathways.