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Sinusitis Survival Kit: Your Ticket to Breathing Easy in Royal Oak, MI

As a trusted and experienced ENT clinic in Royal Oak, MI, we've treated more sinusitis cases than we can count -- in fact, it's one of the most frequently treated issues here at The Rontal Clinic. From acute to chronic, we help patients find relief from the swelling, pain, tenderness, and other symptoms associated with sinusitis.

For most people, this relief is life-changing.

Unfortunately, not everyone who needs it is getting it.

Many people know that sinusitis is another name for chronic sinus infections, but that's about where their knowledge usually ends. As a family ENT in Royal Oak Michigan, we want to make sure our neighbors understand this condition and all the important information about it.

So today, we're discussing important sinusitis facts you should know including what causes it, its symptoms, and how it's treated.

Sinusitis: The Good, the Bad, and the Snotty!

The sinuses are four paired cavities in our heads. These are located behind the cheeks and the forehead just above the eyes.

Sinusitis is inflammation of the tissues lining those cavities -- it's the medical term for what most people know as a sinus infection. The inflammation is secondary to an infection caused by various irritations.

There are four types of sinusitis: acute, subacute, chronic, and recurrent. The difference in the four types of sinusitis is the duration of the sinusitis:

  • Acute sinusitis lasts for four weeks or less.
  • Subacute sinusitis lasts for four to twelve weeks.
  • Chronic sinusitis lasts for at least twelve weeks and may last longer.
  • Recurrent acute sinusitis occurs at least four times a year and usually lasts for less than two weeks at a time.

Sinusitis is typically caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or allergens. The most common causes of sinusitis include the common cold, influenza, streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, haemophilus influenza bacteria, moraxella catarrhalis bacteria, and nasal and seasonal allergies.

Signs, Symptoms, & Risk Factors: Feeling Stuffy and Sluggish?

Sinusitis has a wide range of symptoms. This is because the sinuses are connected to the ear canals. They are also located close enough to the body's surface to cause pain that can radiate to the facial tissues. 

One or more of the following symptoms can often indicate sinusitis:

  • Nasal inflammation
  • Thick, discolored nasal discharge
  • Postnasal drainage
  • Congestion that makes it difficult to breathe through the nose
  • Pain, tenderness, or swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose, or forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell or taste
  • Ear pain
  • Headache
  • Aching in the upper jaw and teeth
  • Cough or throat clearing
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue

Several people are at an increased risk of developing sinusitis -- including anyone with nasal allergies, asthma, nasal polyps, deviated septum, a weakened immune system, and those who smoke. All of these can lead to sinus inflammation to varying degrees, and they can all also make a person prone to developing sinus infections that inflame the tissues of the sinus cavity.

Diagnosis, Treatment, & Prevention: Sniff, Sniff, Hooray!

Diagnosing sinusitis begins with a thorough medical exam and medical history. The patient's ears, nose, and throat will be checked for swelling, drainage, or blockage, and an endoscope - a small, lighted flexible tube - might be used to look inside the nose and sinuses.

Specific tests may also be used to determine the underlying cause of sinusitis depending on how often it occurs. Here are a few examples: 

  • Nasal endoscopy is used to provide a clearer picture of the sinus tissues, their inflammation, and any other possible abnormalities in the sinus cavity.
  • Nasal swabs may be used to take a mucous sample from the nose to test for viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other possible causes of sinusitis.
  • A CT scan may be ordered to better understand what's happening in the sinuses, depending on the severity and frequency of sinusitis.
  • Allergy testing may be ordered if the ENT suspects that an allergic reaction is the cause of sinusitis.
  • A biopsy is sometimes ordered if particularly concerning polyps or other growths are discovered while assessing sinusitis.

Although sinusitis is an infection, it's not always treated with antibiotics. In many cases, treating the cause of the infection is enough to make the problem go away. In addition, many cases of sinusitis are caused by a viral infection, and viruses cannot be killed with antibiotics.

For sinusitis cases that aren't chronic, recommendations generally include decongestants, OTC cold and allergy medications, nasal saline rinses, and drinking plenty of fluids. If the sinusitis has not resolved after ten days, the treatment is taken further and may include antibiotics, decongestants, steroid sprays, or a combination of those.

Finally, if the patient is suffering from chronic sinusitis, the ENT will try to find the underlying cause of the inflammation and infection and treat that to prevent further reoccurrence. These treatments can include:

  • Intranasal steroid sprays
  • Topical antihistamine sprays or oral pills
  • Leukotriene antagonists
  • Surgical correction of a deviated septum or to remove polyps or fungal infections

As an ENT clinic in Royal Oak Michigan specializing in all aspects of ear, nose, and throat care, we're happy to help our patients resolve their sinusitis issues. However, we're even happier if we can help them avoid sinusitis altogether. This can be achieved by rinsing the nose with saline, avoiding known allergy triggers, using steroid nasal sprays when necessary, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and quitting smoking if possible.

The Rontal Clinic: Where Your Sinuses Go to Breathe Again

Are you experiencing symptoms related to sinusitis? Are you at an increased risk of developing sinusitis? Are you interested in learning more about your treatment options for sinusitis? If you answered 'yes' to any of those questions, don't hesitate to contact The Rontal Clinic.

As a long-time ENT clinic in Royal Oak, we've been helping patients with their sinusitis and other upper respiratory issues for years.

While you can usually manage sinusitis at home, it's important to schedule an appointment or call us at (248) 737-4030 if you have recurring sinusitis, worsening sinusitis symptoms, or you suspect your sinusitis is secondary to an underlying issue like allergies.

We're here to help guide you through diagnosis and treatment so you can get back to living your life without chronic inflammation, pain, and uncomfortable symptoms.