Do you suffer from any of these symptoms?
- Pain or pressure in the forehead, cheeks, nose and between the eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
- Cough, which may be worse at night
- Bad breath (called halitosis)
- An ache in the teeth
If you said “yes” to more than one of the symptoms we listed above, you may be suffering from sinusitis.
What Will Happen During Your Appointment
After reviewing your symptoms, the doctor will ask you whether you have ever broken or severely injured your nose and whether you have ever had nasal surgery. The physician will look at your nose and the position of your nasal septum. Your doctor will use a bright light and a nasal speculum (an instrument that gently spreads open your nostril) to inspect the inside surface of each nostril. The lining tissues of the nose may be temporarily shrunken by use of Afrin or Neosynephrine nasal spray to get a better look at the entire septum. Sometimes a fiberoptic scope will be inserted in the nose to look at the posterior septum directly.
If your deviated septum is causing troublesome nosebleeds, repeated sinus infections or other significant problems, then your otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) may recommend surgical correction.
Treatment & Procedures
Treatment methods vary depending on the cause. Often the solution may be as simple as using a saline nasal spray, which will clean out your nasal passages and help clear congestion.
If you have sinus pain or pressure, your doctor may prescribe or recommend a decongestant to help your sinuses drain. Decongestants are generally only recommended for short-term use.
If your case of sinusitis is very severe and your doctor thinks the cause is bacterial, he or she may prescribe an antibiotic. You may take an antibiotic for 10 to 14 days, but you will usually start feeling better a couple of days after you start taking it. It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions exactly and to continue taking it until completely gone, even after you’re feeling better.
If allergies are causing your sinusitis, your doctor may opt to treat the allergy. Once allergies are addressed the sinusitis usually clears up on its own.
Tips to Help with Sinusitis
- Get plenty of rest. If lying down makes your sinuses feel more stopped-up, try lying on the side that lets you breathe the best. Simply use a pillow to prop yourself up. Sip hot liquids and drink plenty of fluids.
- Apply moist heat by holding a warm, wet towel against your face or breathing in steam through a cloth or towel. This will relieve sinus pressure and help open your sinus passages.
- Talk with your doctor before using an over-the-counter cold medicine. Some cold medicines can make your symptoms worse or cause other problems. Don’t use a nasal spray with a decongestant in it for more than 3 days. If you use it for more than 3 days, the swelling in your sinuses may get worse when you stop using the medicine.
- Avoid alcohol, which can worsen swelling in the sinuses.
Call Charleston ENT & Allergy at (843) 766-7103 for more information or to schedule an appointment.