Over 31 million people in the United States suffer from sinus infections. While they’re often mistaken for severe colds, sinus infections are infections in your sinuses that cause similar, but longer-lasting symptoms. The team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists in Petoskey and Gaylord, Michigan, diagnose sinus infections and offer effective treatments to relieve your symptoms and help your body recover from the illness. Call Petoskey Ear,Nose and Throat Specialists or schedule an appointment online today if you’re suffering from severe cold-like symptoms.
Your sinuses are the hollow cavities behind your nose, cheeks, and eyes. Your sinuses are lined with a thin film of mucus that both catches and traps any germs or allergens in the air you breathe and warms the air before it enters your lungs.
A sinus infection occurs when a bacterial or viral infection settles in your sinuses, causing inflammation and a variety of disruptive symptoms.
Sinus infections are often mistaken for severe colds because many of the symptoms are the same. For example, both cause:
A sinus infection is present in your sinuses, while a cold is an upper respiratory infection that increases mucus production in your sinuses. Sinus infections last longer than colds. Cold symptoms usually subside within a week, while sinus infections often continue for several weeks.
A cold may evolve into a sinus infection. If you’re frequently blowing or touching your nose without washing your hands, you could introduce bacteria into your sinuses while they’re already inflamed and your immune system is compromised.
The team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists diagnose sinus infections with an exam and diagnostic tests. Your provider talks to you about your symptoms and any self-care you’ve tried at home. They may order allergy testing to determine if allergies are causing the inflammation.
In some cases, your provider may recommend a nasal endoscopy or an imaging study such as an MRI to examine the insides of your sinuses in more detail. These tests can identify structural abnormalities such as a deviated septum or abnormal bone or soft tissue growth that contributes to your symptoms.
Treatment for a sinus infection depends on the condition causing it. For example, if you have a bacterial infection you may need an antibiotic to help fight off the infection. If the illness is viral, you may need a nasal spray or oral corticosteroid to reduce the inflammation while you rest and recover.
If your condition is due to structural abnormalities and doesn’t respond to medical treatments and rest, your provider may recommend sinus surgery. The team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists offers balloon sinuplasty to open your sinuses, as well as septoplasty procedures to repair a deviated septum.
Call Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists or schedule an appointment online today to get the expert care you need if you have symptoms of a sinus infection.