What are the symptoms of acute sinusitis?
Did you ever have a cold that stuck around a lot longer than it should have? Chances are, if it lasted longer than 10-14 days, you probably had sinusitis, an infection or inflammation of the sinuses. Understanding the symptoms of acute sinusitis can help you know when to seek treatment.
What are sinuses and what do they do?
The sinuses play a big role in producing mucus that protects our nasal passages from pollutants like smoke, dust, and microorganisms that can make us sick. They are hollow areas around the nose bones that are connected by tiny channels. As long as our sinuses are healthy, everything functions properly, but once sinuses are unhealthy, there can be a wide variety of problematic symptoms.
Rhinosinusitis, commonly called sinusitis, affects about 30 million people in the US each year. Bacteria, fungi, or viruses can start to cultivate your the sinuses when you have a cold or allergy because the mucus clogs or backs up. This creates the perfect environment for growth. In an attempt to reduce the infection, the lining of the sinuses swells, which further blocks the passages that allow drainage to occur. Once this happens, you feel pain and pressure.
Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis
- Drainage from the nose that is not clear. Rather it is cloudy and discolored.
- Pain around the eyes, nose, face, and head. Can also feel like pressure. Some patients may say things like “My head feels like a bowling ball.”
- Dizziness when bending over
- Drainage in the back of your throat
- Ear aches
- Sore throat
Determining whether an acute sinusitis episode is caused by viral or bacterial agents can be important. If an episode lasts for less than 10 days, and doesn’t get worse, it is most likely a viral infection. Since viruses don’t respond to antibiotics, your doctor may prescribe other medications for symptom management. These can include pain medications, nasal sprays, and saline irrigation. If you have an infection that appears to be getting worse (or gets better and then worse again) and is lasting longer than 10 days, an antibiotic may be prescribed for bacterial acute sinusitis.
When in doubt, it’s always best to be fully evaluated by the experts. Palm Beach Sinus Doctors are ready to help you find a treatment plan to resolve your unique sinus issues.