With spring fully upon us, allergy season is in full swing, and many Americans (approximately 37 million of us) are starting to feel the itch. Sinus pressure, nasal pain, and congestion ramp up when there are more allergens thanks to our body’s uncomfortable process of attempting to fight off the allergy.
While allergies are incredibly common, long-term congestion and allergies can lead to more serious sinus problems down the line. If sinus issues are affecting your daily life, talk to your McAllen ENT about chronic sinusitis.
What is Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic Sinusitis is characterized by the annual swelling of nasal cavities and passages that can affect the nose, cheeks, and behind the eyes. Chronic sinusitis, compared to usual allergies, can last at least 12 weeks and usually sticks around even after you use over-the-counter or prescription medicine.
Sinusitis affects the drainage of mucus which causes a build-up and contributes to difficulty breathing.
The Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinusitus is characterized by most of the same symptoms that most of us associate with allergies and colds, but the effects last longer and sufferers are more likely to see several of the following specific symptoms:
- Nasal congestion
- Post-nasal drip
- Stuffy nose
- Coughing or throat clearing
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain or swelling in your face
- Thick discolored mucus or discharge
- Ear pain
- Aching in the upper jaw or teeth
- A sore throat
- A stiff neck
- Reduced sense of taste
However, these symptoms can also be a sign of acute sinusitis when accompanied by a fever or head cold. Acute sinusitis can also cause a loss of vision and a loss of smell. If left untreated, sinusitis can lead to more serious conditions such as meningitis, or the infection could spread to your bones.
The Causes of Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic Sinusitis can be caused by several conditions including nasal polyps, cystic fibrosis, a deviated septum, hayfever, respiratory infections, as well as HIV and other immune-compromising illnesses. You may be more at risk of developing chronic sinusitis if you live with any of the following conditions:
- Aspirin sensitivity
- Dental infections
- Fungal infections
- Regular exposure to pollutants
- Immune disorders
Preventing Chronic Sinusitis
The first step to avoiding chronic sinusitis and many other illnesses is keeping your hands clean, but there are also a few extra things you can add to your daily routine to decrease the likelihood that you’ll develop this condition:
- By managing your allergies with the help of your ENT doctor, you can also decrease your risk of chronic sinusitis. Allergies can lead to inflamed nasal passages which lay the groundwork for sinusitis.
- Avoid air pollutants and irritants such as cigarette smoke and pollen. These pollutants can inflame your nasal passageways and cause an adverse reaction.
- Lastly, if your home has dryer air, such as a forced-air home in the wintertime, you’ll want to invest in a humidifier. The moisture helps to lubricate your airways, preventing your body from overproducing mucus. You’ll need to make sure your humidifier is cleaned regularly and thoroughly so that it doesn’t grow mold or bacteria.
Seeing Your McAllen ENT for Chronic Sinusitis Treatment
You should consult your doctor if you feel any stiffness in your neck, become confused, have blurred vision, have a fever, or your symptoms have lasted longer than 10 days after treatment.
Once you have a diagnosis, your chronic sinusitis can be remedied in several ways, including using medications, natural therapies, and non-invasive techniques performed by a doctor. Our ENTs can give you the care you need to find relief.