By West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat
September 16, 2014
Category: Uncategorized

Acute vs. Chronic Sinusitis
So, you are runny, stuffy, have a red nose, pain in your face and seemingly everywhere else, including exhaustion. This is way beyond a cold. You’ve got a sinus infection. The otolaryngology professionals at West Coast ENT Head and Neck Surgery in Thousand Oaks are all about making you feel better, whether your sinusitis is acute or chronic, but they want you to know the difference.
What is a sinus infection?

The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery defines sinusitis as follows, “an infection of the sinus cavities caused by bacteria. It usually is preceded by a cold, allergy attack, or irritation by environmental pollutants,” such as cigarette smoke. When you have a cold or allergies, your sinuses become inflamed and backed up with mucus, unable to drain. This can lead to a sinus infection.
Symptoms include:

    A stuffy, runny nose with thick green or yellow discharge
    Pressure and/or pain in the face, specifically around the sinuses or in the mouth (dental pain)
    Inability to smell
    A cough or congestion
    Bad breath

You may not experience all of these symptoms so it’s important to visit your Thousand Oaks ENT so they can diagnose your ailment.
What’s the difference between acute and chronic sinusitis?
There are variant levels, if you will, of sinus infections. Acute sinusitis is a stubborn infection that does not go away in 10 to 14 days. Typically lasting under a month, an estimated 37 million Americans suffer from a sinus infection each year. Your otolaryngologist may prescribe you antibiotics, such as a z-pak, for a bacterial infection or may instruct you to use a combination of over-the-counter decongestants and steam therapy.
Chronic sinusitis occurs when your nasal cavities have been backed up for at least eight weeks, despite treatment, or the infection frequently returns. There are different methods of dealing with chronic sinus infections, such as a saline irrigation tool (neti pot), decongestants, pain relief medication, corticosteroids or antibiotics. The most extreme solution is surgery, for those noses that just won’t stay clear after many attempts by your ENT to keep them so.
Both chronic and acute sinusitis are bothersome, painful and can be restricting in many ways. If you’re concerned your cold or allergies has turned into something bigger, contact your Thousand Oaks otolaryngologist at West Coast ENT Head and Neck Surgery today.