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Acute & Chronic Sinus Infection

Gainesville doctors at Accent ENT discuss causes, symptoms and treatments of common sinus infections

Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, occurs when the sinuses and nasal passages become inflamed or swelled. Air is intended to fill the sinuses, but when they become blocked and filled with fluid, lack of air can cause germs (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) to grow and cause infection.

About 37 million Americans suffer from at least one episode of sinusitis each year. People who have the following conditions have a higher risk of sinusitis:

In adults, the leading contributing factors of sinusitis are infections and smoking. While in children, common environmental factors contributing to sinusitis include allergies, illnesses from other children at day care or school, bottle drinking while lying on one’s back, and smoke in the air.

Accent ENT is proud to offer the most comprehensive, skilled, ENT care available in North Central Florida with special expertise on chronic sinusitis

Most sinus infections are caused by a virus while bacteria sinusitis infections are rare.  Other causes of sinusitis include:

Acute Sinusitis

Acute sinusitis is caused by bacteria and needs to be treated with antibiotics. Acute sinusitis can last 4 weeks, and sub-acute sinusitis can last up to 12 weeks.

Acute viral sinusitis, caused by a virus, typically lasts for less than 4 weeks and occurs less than 3 times per year. Acute viral sinusitis generally occurs after having an upper respiratory infection. It will almost always get better on its own and antibiotics will not help.

Schedule a follow-up appointment with your Accent ENT Specialist for re-evaluation if symptoms continue for more than 10 days.

Some of the primary symptoms of acute sinusitis include:

Acute sinusitis may be diagnosed when a person has two or more symptoms and/or the presence of thick, green, or yellow nasal discharge.

Chronic Sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis lasts longer than 4 weeks and occurs frequently –more than 4 times a year. People who experience chronic sinusitis should visit a specialist for evaluation. Chronic sinusitis can be caused by nasal polyps or tumors, allergies, or respiratory tract infections (viral, bacterial, or fungal), among other reasons.
People with chronic sinusitis may have the following symptoms for 8 weeks or more:

Acute Sinusitis Treatment

For a simple sinus infection, your Accent ENT specialist may recommend treatment with decongestants like Sudafed and steam inhalations. Use of nonprescription decongestant nasal drops or sprays may also be considered. However, decongestant sprays and drops should not be used beyond their recommended use, usually 4 or 5 days, or they may actually increase congestion. When antibiotics are given for a bacterial sinus infection, they are usually given for 10 to 14 days.

Chronic Sinusitis Treatment

Warm moist air can help alleviate sinus congestion. So it can help to use a vaporizer or inhale steam from hot water. Warm compresses are useful to relieve pain in the nose and sinuses. Saline nose drops are also safe for home use. Use of decongestant nasal drops or sprays should not be used beyond their recommended use of 4 or 5 days. Antibiotics or oral steroids may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation –usually only when other medications have not worked.

Other Treatment Options for Sinusitis

Addressing potential triggers or contributing factors is a key first step in the management of sinusitis. An antihistamine may be recommended for the treatment of allergies. Antifungal medicine may be prescribed for a fungal sinus infection. Immunoglobulin (antibodies) may be given if you have certain immune deficiencies.

Many people with chronic sinus problems are able to manage their conditions with the help of their Accent ENT specialist without having to undergo surgery.

If antibiotics and other medicines are not effective in opening the sinus, surgery may be necessary. Also, if there is a structural abnormality of the sinus such as nasal polyps, which can obstruct sinus drainage, surgery may be needed.

Even if your sinus condition requires surgery, Drs. Kerr and Rogers possess extensive experience in numerous minimally invasive procedures.

Minimally invasive procedures are not only more cost effective and less risky, they’re typically outpatient procedures, which save on both time and costs.

And not only do specialists at Accent ENT help address medical conditions of the nose, the Accent family of physicians can also help address cosmetic issues of the nose as well.

Whether you’re looking for basic treatment like prick testing or allergy shots, or have severe sinusitis that may require surgery, we invite you contact Gainesville sinus specialists at Accent ENT today to schedule an appointment.