Sinus infections, the common cold, and seasonal allergies have overlapping symptoms, but the treatments vary quite a bit. So how do you know which condition you’re dealing with?
In this blog, Dr. Conrad McCutcheon, our board-certified ENT physician and surgeon at Memorial Village Sinus & Hearing in Houston, Texas, highlights 10 of the symptoms that may indicate you’re dealing with sinusitis. The only way to be sure is through a comprehensive exam and a review of your symptoms.
What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis refers to swelling and inflammation in your sinuses. The type of sinusitis you have varies depending on how long your symptoms last.
Acute sinusitis often develops after a cold and lasts less than four weeks. Subacute sinusitis lasts between four and 12 weeks, while chronic sinusitis lasts 12 weeks or more. Recurrent sinusitis is sometimes called allergic sinusitis because it’s often linked with allergies.
About 35 million Americans experience at one least bout of sinusitis each year, and you’re more likely to fall into that category if you have allergies, blocked drainage ducts, a structural deformity, or nasal polyps or if you contract an illness — such as a cold — that affects your sinuses.
Whether you have acute, subacute, chronic sinusitis, or recurrent sinusitis, all produce bothersome symptoms.
10 telltale symptoms of sinusitis
Common symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Headache, especially around your sinuses (forehead, between the eyes, cheeks, and top of your head)
- Nasal congestion and discharge
- Decreased sense of smell or taste
- Facial pressure
- Sore throat and cough, often from postnasal drip
- Toothache or jaw pain
- Pressure in your ears
- Temporary hearing loss due to fluid in your ears
Another clue that you might be dealing with sinusitis is the duration of your symptoms. A common cold typically lasts 3-7 days. Allergies can hang around for one season or last all year, depending on your specific allergies.
Unlike the typical sinusitis symptoms, allergies tend to cause itchy eyes and sneezing. If you don’t have facial pain, but you do have itchy eyes, you might be dealing with allergies instead of sinusitis.
Getting relief from sinusitis
At Memorial Village Sinus & Hearing, it’s our top priority to help you feel better — no matter which type of sinusitis you have. Potential treatment options include:
- Medication, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, antihistamines, and mucolytics
- Nasal sprays
- At-home treatments, including saline irrigations, warm, wet compresses to ease sinus pressure and staying hydrated
If medical treatments aren’t enough to alleviate your sinusitis symptoms, Dr. McCutcheon may recommend sinus surgery. This typically involves enlarging the openings between your sinuses, which allows better airflow and improved drainage. This can help eliminate congestion, infections, and facial pressure from clogged sinuses.
Not sure if your symptoms are related to sinusitis or if they’re something else? Dr. McCutcheon is an expert when it comes to diagnosing and treating congestion, sinus pain, and runny noses. Call 281-822-3777 or send an online appointment request to schedule your visit today.