Sinus Infections

If I was a nasal super hero, my arch-nemesis would be the dreaded sinus infection. When I get sick, it’s usually involving my sinuses. People with allergies (like me!) are prone to sinus infections. A sinus infection may feel a lot like a cold, but it’s not really curable without antibiotics.

Symptoms:
• Stuffy nose and/or congestion
• A headache with pain in the forehead
• Pain below the eyes, in the cheeks/jaw area
• Coughing, sneezing

You May Also Experience:
• Fever
• Sore throat from nasal drainage, known as post-nasal drip

So you’ve tried all your favorite over-the-counter cold remedies, and you still feel miserable. Time for a visit to the old doctor’s office! You may get a diagnosis of sinusitis just from describing your symptoms, especially if you have a lot of pain in the face and your sinus areas are tender when the doctor checks them. You may have to go for sinus x-rays.

You actually have four pairs of sinuses. The largest ones are in your cheeks, below your eyes. Another set is in the bridge of your nose, between the eyes. A third set is behind the eyes, and your fourth is in your forehead, over your eyebrows. Your sinuses are like a little facial commune, promoting the free exchange of air and mucous.

Acute Sinusitis is an infection that lasts three weeks or less. Your doctor may prescribe decongestants to help clear things out, antibiotics to control the infection, and painkillers if necessary.

Chronic sinusitis is an infection that lasts weeks, months, or even years. Along with the remedies above, your doctor may have you take some form of steroids to help reduce the inflammation of the nasal passages. If the medications don’t work, you may need surgery to enlarge the sinus openings to allow/enhance drainage. I was nineteen when I had sinus endoscopy to relieve chronic sinusitis, and since then I have sinus infections maybe three times a year. That’s MUCH better than having sinusitis all the time!

Aren’t your sinuses fun? Learn more from the National Institute of Health.

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