An acute or chronic sinus infection can disrupt your day with headache pain and nasal pressure. At his practice in Fullerton, California, Jason H. Kim, MD, a board-certified otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgeon, specializes in diagnosing and treating sinus infections so you get lasting relief from persistent symptoms. If sinus pain and pressure lasts more than 10 days, or becomes recurrent, you may benefit from a professional evaluation. Call to schedule an exam with Dr. Kim or use the online booking feature to request an appointment.
When you have a runny nose, headache, and congestion, it’s hard to know whether you’re suffering from a cold, allergies, or a sinus infection. One of the most common causes of a sinus infection is a virus associated with the common cold. The root cause of your sinus infection — also called sinusitis — depends on the type of infection you have.
An acute or subacute sinus infection usually begins with inflammation in your nasal passages as a result of an allergy or irritant. This is the type of sinus infection that comes from the common cold. Blockages in your sinuses from a cold sometimes leads to an infection.
Chronic sinus infections usually occur when you have ongoing inflammation in your sinuses. This is often the result of allergies or exposure to irritants, like cigarette smoke. You may also have structural abnormalities in your sinuses, such as a deviated septum, that prevent your sinuses from draining properly.
A fungal sinus infection may develop from debris and dead cells accumulate in the sinus passages. This sometimes happens after an injury and is common if you have a weakened immune system.
One of the telltale signs that you have a sinus infection, and not simply a cold or allergies, is the feeling of pressure all across your nose, cheeks, and forehead. Sinus pressure can even extend to your teeth and ears. Post-nasal drip, a reduced sense of smell, and bad breath are also signs that you have sinusitis.
Additionally, when you blow your nose or cough, you may notice your mucus is green or yellow in color, and you may have a fever. If your symptoms last more than 10 days, it’s more likely sinusitis than just a common cold. Other signs of an infection include:
If over-the-counter medications temporarily relieve symptoms, but don’t alleviate your infection so it keeps recurring, you may need a prescription. Dr. Kim determines the underlying cause of the infection so you get the most effective treatments. Antibiotics are usually the last resort when other remedies don’t resolve your symptoms.
The best way to prevent a sinus infection is to understand the underlying causes. If you smoke or you’re regularly exposed to environmental irritants, quitting smoking and avoiding triggers can help decrease your instances of sinusitis. Washing your hands frequently during cold and flu season may also help prevent sinus infections that come from viruses or bacteria.
If allergies are the underlying cause of your sinus infections, Dr. Kim recommends effective treatments to keep allergies under control, which may also help minimize nasal infections.
For expert sinus care, call the office to schedule an exam or book an appointment online.