Fall and Winter mean more stuffy noses, but how do you know when a sniffle is something more serious? Many cases of the common cold and flu can develop into sinusitis, or the inflammation of the sinus tissue. Better known as a sinus infection, this common winter condition happens when the sinuses become blocked, fill with fluid, and bacteria grows out of control. While some sinus infections will clear up on their own, others will require care at a medical clinic.
What are the symptoms of a sinus infection?
The most common symptom of a sinus infection is pain of the sinuses, which can occur on the bridge of the nose, below or behind the eyes, on your jaw or teeth, and in your forehead. You may also experience congestion or a sore throat. If the ears are involved, you might also experience dizziness, which is the most common complaint heard at doctor's offices and affects 70% of the population at some time in their lives.
What causes sinus infections?
Your sinus may become blocked following the common cold or due to allergies. Some people may also experience nasal polyps, or small growths in the nose lining. A deviated septum can also cause the sinuses to block more easily. Doctors will likely be able to diagnose the specific cause of your sinus problems.
When should I see a doctor for a potential sinus infection?
If you are experiencing the symptoms of a sinus infection or any discomfort related to the sinuses, it's always best to see a doctor for proper diagnosis. In the event of severe sinus pain, be sure to visit one of your local emergency medical clinics. The clinic's health professionals will offer treatment for your condition.
What are the treatments for a sinus infection?
If the doctor diagnoses you with acute sinusitis, which usually lasts two to four weeks, they may prescribe antibiotics. For chronic sinusitis, which lasts over twelve weeks, they may prescribe antibiotics along with a nasal spray to speed up treatment. Since not all infections are the same, your doctor will tailor your treatment specifically to you.
Most emergency medical clinics are equipment to diagnose and treat sinus infections, so be sure to visit one if you are experiencing the sinusitis symptoms described above. The faster you seek diagnosis, the faster you can be on the road to recovery.