Each year in the United States, nearly 30 million people are diagnosed with sinusitis, an infection in their sinuses. This condition also leads to an incredible 73 million restricted-activity days (sick days).
While the numbers indicate that sinusitis is common, Dr. Timothy Queen and the team here at Advanced ENT & Allergy don’t want to assume that everyone is familiar with the symptoms of a sinus infection.
In this month’s blog post, we dive into sinusitis, including the telltale signs that an infection may be present.
Let’s review what sinusitis is and how it develops. First, it’s an infection in your sinuses that can be viral or bacterial. Second, it can develop in one or more sets of sinuses, including your:
- Maxillary sinuses in your cheeks
- Ethmoid sinuses on the inside of your eye sockets
- Sphenoid sinuses in the bridge of your nose
- Frontal sinuses in your forehead
Third, sinusitis is often acute, occurring on the heels of a cold or flu, but it can also become a chronic condition — more than 12% of the population in the US has chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis is also closely associated with seasonal allergies.
At the core of sinusitis, whether acute or chronic, is inflammation in your sinus cavities. This inflammation can lead to some telltale signs of a problem, including:
1. Runny or stuffy nose
When you have sinusitis, your nose will usually run, or if your sinuses are backed up, you’ll have a stuffy nose and find breathing difficult. When mucus does get thorough, it’s often thick and yellowish or greenish, which indicates infection.
2. Postnasal drip
Another characteristic of sinusitis is postnasal drip. Not only do you have more mucus when you have sinusitis, but it’s also thicker. So, when the mucus drains down the back of your throat, you are far more aware of it, and the dripping usually causes a sore throat.
3. Pressure or pain in your face
When your sinuses are inflamed, mucus won't drain as well, and they become backed up. As a result, you can experience pain and pressure in your sinuses, especially if you bend your head down.
4. Pain in your teeth
If there’s inflammation in your maxillary sinuses (the ones in your cheeks), and the sinuses get clogged, you can experience pain in your upper teeth. These sinuses rest right on top of your upper teeth' roots, and this proximity can be problematic when there's pressure.
With acute sinusitis, you might develop a fever, which indicates that your body is attempting to fight off the infection.
There are other symptoms, such as fatigue and bad breath, but the above five are enough to help you figure out whether you might be dealing with a sinus infection.
The best way to figure it out is to see us. As ear, nose, and throat specialists and allergy experts, we know our way around sinusitis and offer the treatments you need to relieve the symptoms. We also offer long-term solutions for chronic sufferers, such as sinus surgery.
If you’d like help breathing easier, please contact our office in Newport News, Virginia, for expert diagnosis and care of sinusitis.