Acute sinus infections are very common, and often confused as the common cold or flu by some people. They both have similar symptoms that can take up to one to three weeks to go away. Symptoms that persist longer than that and reappear indicate that chronic sinusitis may be to blame. Unlike many mild upper respiratory ailments that go away on their own and those that respond favorably to nonprescription medications, nasal rinses, and other home remedies, chronic sinusitis requires medical treatment.
With chronic sinusitis, the absence of symptoms does not mean there is not an infection. The use of over-the-counter medications and remedies mask or suppress the symptoms but do not address the infection or underlying cause, resulting in a false sense of security and delays in diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately relief. When it comes to sinus symptoms and infections, Los Angeles’ area patients rely on Dr. Alen N. Cohen at the Southern California Sinus Institute. Check out the following known causes of chronic sinusitis to better understand the importance of timely and proper care.
Colds, Upper Respiratory Ailments, and Allergies
Sinus infections develop when the swelling and inflammation in the nasal airways impair mucus drainage and allow bacteria and germs to breed. Normally, inflammation from the common cold or flu and other mild respiratory conditions resolve within 10 days to two weeks. Medical attention is generally not necessary for colds and minor upper respiratory ailments unless they become worse. However, decongestants, pain and fever reducers, and nasal irrigation and steam inhalation treatments may provide relief and aid with symptom management. Signs of sinusitis include facial pain around the eyes, nose or teeth and thick, discolored mucus, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, sore throat, headache, fatigue, fever, and a persistent cough.
Nasal Polyps, Septum Deviations, and Other Structural Abnormalities
Chronic sinusitis develops when the passages and sinus cavities are unable to drain mucus efficiently due to blockage, inflammation, or a buildup of mucus, germs, and bacteria. Nasal polyps, septum deviations, hypertrophic turbinates, and other tissue abnormalities that alter and block the sinuses and nasal airways are generally the most common reason some people develop chronic sinusitis.
Nasal polyps are benign growths that develop on the inside of the nose and within the sinuses. Many people describe them as small, soft to hard bumps that swell, bleed, and become painful when irritated or infected. Although over 30-40 percent of the population has them, men and individuals with certain health and genetic factors are more predisposed to nasal polyps. Prolonged swelling increases the likelihood of infection setting in. Managing sinus infections when there are nasal polyps, septum deviations, and other abnormalities within the nose and nasal airways can be extremely difficult without proper ENT care.
Deviations in the shape and alignment of the bone and cartilage of the nose can cause congestion in one or both nostrils and the airways and sinuses within the nasal system. These deviations are usually present at birth and can develop from physical trauma to the nose. Many people do not suspect they have a deviated septum until they have an upper respiratory ailment or sinus infection that makes it difficult to breathe. The only cure for septum deviations is surgery or septoplasty.
Some people who are prone to chronic sinusitis are sensitive to mold spores, smoke, pet dander, dust, pollen, and other environmental air contaminants. Those with allergies experience an immune response that triggers swelling and congestion in the nose and sinus cavities and other allergy symptoms, as commonly seen with asthma and allergic rhinitis. Los Angeles’ climate can be extremely challenging for allergy sufferers due to the increase in moisture, pollen, mold, ragweed, pollution, and other toxins in the air. Many people with allergies seek out treatment at the Southern California Sinus Institute, under the care of Dr. Alen D. Cohen, MD so they breathe freely while spending more time doing the things, they love without the discomfort of allergy attacks or symptoms.
Other Health Considerations
The sinus cavities connect the nasal airways to the airways in the nose and throat. Untreated dental and gum infections can spread to the sinuses, causing congestion and sinus symptoms. Chronic sinusitis is an inflammatory condition. It can be triggered by other inflammatory and health disorders. It is also more likely to develop from acute sinus infections and nasal tissue abnormalities than other factors alone. Symptoms can persist long after the underlying infection is gone, leading to fatigue, trouble breathing, nosebleeds, congestion, facial pain, and prolonged feelings of malaise and relationship issues due to snoring, sleep apnea, etc.
Breathe Again With Dr. Cohen at the Southern California Sinus Institute
Chronic sinusitis symptoms are often the same as acute sinus infections. The main difference is with chronic sinusitis, the infection does not go away. The symptoms recur several times throughout the year. Imagine how miserable you would feel if you had a bad or severe cold or sinus infection that blindsides you at least four times a year, lasting 12 weeks or longer each time? That’s almost an entire year of misery. The good news is you can do something about it.
See our renowned ENT and sinus specialist, Dr. Alen N. Cohen, MD, FACS, FARS, for chronic sinusitis treatment if you or a loved one experience two or more of the following symptoms longer than a few weeks:
- Decreased smell or taste senses
- Facial pain
- Facial pressure or swelling
- Green, yellow, or foul-smelling mucus
- Nasal congestion or difficulty breathing through the nose
- Sore throat or post-nasal discharge
- Ear or tooth pain
Chronic sinusitis is highly prevalent in individuals with a history of facial trauma, weak immunity, septum deviations, allergies, nasal polyps, and other health concerns.
Sinusitis Treatment at the Southern California Sinus Institute
Southern California Sinus Institute offers patients freedom from sinus symptoms and ear, nose, and throat disorders that can make breathing and living uncomfortable. Call (818) 888-7878 to set up a consultation with Los Angeles’ world-renowned Dr. Cohen, and learn safe, effective, and convenient treatment options to regain control of your life!