Sinus infections occur when the sinus cavities become swollen, inflamed and infected, usually at the tail-end of a cold or allergy attack. Infections tend to linger long after upper respiratory symptoms have passed.
Acute Vs. Chronic Infections
Acute sinusitis is defined as a sinus infection that lasts less than four weeks, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Acute sinusitis usually follows a cold or other similar illness. Chronic sinusitis persists for twelve weeks or more, or recurs as multiple acute episodes. Chronic sinusitis can sometimes be attributed to the anatomy of the sinus cavities.
There are many symptoms of sinusitis, which are usually the same whether acute or chronic.
Pain in the sinuses is one of the most common symptoms of sinusitis. There are many sinus cavities in the face, located above and below the eyes as well as behind the nose. Any or all of them can hurt during an infection.
You also might experience pain that radiates to the forehead, nose, jaws, teeth and eyes. This can cause a headache or trigger a migraine.
Inflamed sinuses and swollen nasal cavities restrict airflow and cause congestion. Nasal congestion can also lead to poor smell and taste, and your voice may sound stuffy. Congestion tends to be worse when laying down and may be especially uncomfortable in the morning when you wake up.
Sinusitis causes nasal discharge as the sinuses drain mucus into the nasal passage. This mucus may appear cloudy, green or yellow and may cause you to need to blow your nose a lot.
In addition to nasal discharge, mucus can bypass the nose and drain into the throat, which is known as postnasal drip. Postnasal drip causes coughing, sore throat and hoarseness, and also tends to be worse when laying down at night to fall asleep and when you wake up.
Getting Relief for Sinusitis
While most sinus infections clear up on their own, some require treatment with antibiotics. For cases of chronic sinusitis, a physician may recommend surgery to open the nasal passages. For more information about sinusitis or to see an ENT physician to seek treatment, call ENT of Georgia today.