Difference Between Acute and Chronic Sinusitis – Palm Beach Sinus Doctors Clears It Up

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What’s the difference between acute and chronic sinusitis?

Waking up with a runny nose, pain around your eyes and face, and lacking energy? It’s quite possible that this isn’t a typical cold. It could be a sinus infection. Whether you suffer from acute or chronic sinusitis, it is important to understand what is going on. This leads us to one of our most popular FAQs, “What’s the difference between acute and chronic sinusitis?”

Sinus Infection 101

So, what is a sinus infection? According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, sinusitis is caused by bacterial infection in the sinus cavities. It will typically follow a cold, allergy attack, or an environmental trigger like chemicals or smoke. Colds and allergies cause inflammation of the sinuses. This leads to them not draining properly, and mucus gets backed up.

Some of the symptoms of a sinus infection are:

  • A runny or stuffed up nose with discolored discharge
  • Pain and pressure in the facial areas
  • Lack of smell
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

Symptoms vary patient to patient, so you should visit Palm Beach Sinus Doctors for a full evaluation and diagnosis.

Acute and Chronic Sinusitis – What’s the Difference?

Acute sinusitis tends to follow colds or allergies, and can last for up to four weeks while chronic sinusitis is ongoing and lasts at least 8 weeks. Chronic sinusitis also tends to frequently return. If you have symptoms that are not going away in about 10-14 days, you should schedule an appointment for evaluation.


With an acute sinusitis diagnosis, your otolaryngologist may recommend treatments such as pain relievers, expectorants to break up the mucus, antibiotics (such as z-pak), steam therapy, and nasal steroids. It’s also important to try to get to the root cause of your condition, such as possible unknown allergies.


You may have some of the same treatment options for chronic sinusitis as you would for acute sinusitis, but there is also a customized long-term treatment plan put into place. These can include things lifestyle adjustments, saline irrigation, sinus surgery, and allergy treatments.

If you are suffering from any of the bothersome symptoms of sinusitis and are not finding relief, a call to Palm Beach Sinus Doctors is a great place to start. We’ll help you determine whether you have acute or chronic sinusitis and the cause of your issues. Then, we’ll tailor a treatment plan to meet your unique needs.