Sinusitis 101

Chronic sinusitis involves the inflammation of the sinuses. The condition can make everyday life challenging and uncomfortable for patients. Since many patients with chronic sinusitis also have allergies or asthma, allergy doctors have expertise treating this condition.

Causes and Risk Factors of Sinusitis

Each time you visit your doctor, you should update your medical history. Certain health problems can increase the risk of developing chronic sinusitis. Allergies such as hay fever, for example, cause inflammation that can block the sinuses, resulting in congestion. An allergy specialist will also consider whether an anatomical issue is causing your symptoms. Nasal polyps, enlarged adenoids, and a deviated septum can all lead to sinusitis. Other co-occurring conditions can include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Asthma
  • Aspirin allergy or sensitivity
  • Systemic diseases, including cystic fibrosis

In addition, smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of sinusitis.

Signs and Symptoms of Sinusitis

An allergy doctor can make a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis when at least two of the following primary symptoms are present:

  • In adults, a reduced sense of smell and taste, or in children, a cough
  • Pain, swelling, and tenderness in the facial region
  • Nasal congestion or obstruction that results in difficult breathing
  • Postnasal drip or thick, discolored drainage from the nose

Chronic sinusitis can cause other uncomfortable symptoms as well, such as ear pain, a sore throat, and a cough that tends to get worse later in the day. Other possible symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue or irritability
  • Bad breath
  • Discomfort or aching in the upper jaw and teeth

Treatment Options for Sinusitis

Allergy doctors treat sinusitis with the goals of minimizing inflammation and improving the drainage of the nasal passages. If a bacterial infection is to blame, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Other possible treatment options may include:

  • Non-drug nasal irrigation
  • Short-term oral decongestant or decongestant nasal spray
  • Short-term oral steroids

Patients may also find relief by using a humidifier in the home, avoiding chlorinated pools, and avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke and air pollution. Occasionally, surgery may be needed if the condition is caused by anatomical issues.

Board-certified allergy doctors comprise the physician staff here at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM. We offer compassionate care and effective treatment plans for patients with sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, and asthma near Blue Bell, Center City, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, King of Prussia, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Get in touch today at 1(800)86-COUGH.

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