It is estimated that over 37 million people in the United States suffer from sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health conditions that affect Americans. The symptoms of bacterial sinusitis mimic that of colds and allergies so that number may be even higher. Whatever the number of affected people, it is certainly a pervasive problem that is often difficult to diagnose and treat.
Acute bacterial sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavities caused by bacteria. It is often preceded by a cold, allergy attack, or irritation by environmental pollutants. Bacterial sinusitis, unlike a cold or allergy, requires antibiotic medication to treat the infection and prevent future complications. Normally, mucus collecting in the sinuses drains into the nasal passages. Sinuses affected by a cold or an allergy attack become inflamed and unable to drain. This may lead to an acute infection.
When you have frequent sinusitis or the infection lasts more than three months, you may have chronic sinusitis. Untreated chronic sinusitis may cause damage to the sinus cavities and/or the cheekbones. If your doctor suspects you have chronic sinusitis, intensive antibiotic therapy may be prescribed. If your sinuses have physical obstructions to proper drainage, surgery may be an option.
Surgery should be considered if medical treatment fails or if there is a nasal obstruction that cannot be otherwise corrected. Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is recommended for certain types of sinus disease. With the endoscope, the surgeon can look directly into the nose. The endoscope allows him/her to remove diseased tissue and polyps while clearing the narrow channels between the sinuses.
To avoid developing sinusitis, keep your sinuses clear by:
- Using an oral decongestant or a nasal spray decongestant (not more than three days).
- Gently blowing your nose.
- Drinking plenty of fluids to keep your nasal mucous thin.
- Avoiding air travel. If you must fly, try using a nasal decongestant spray before takeoff.
- Trying to manage your allergy symptoms.
Allergy testing, followed by appropriate allergy treatment, may be very effective in preventing sinusitis.
Treating sinusitis requires good communication with a medical provider who can develop an effective treatment plan tailored to meet your needs. To schedule a consultation with one of our providers, please call 770.740.1860.
"Dr. Joseph, thank you for being so attentive to our little girl. She told all her friends that a Princess took out her tonsils, (she says you look like Princess Jasmine). From day one- We felt safe with you as her surgeon. As a parent, it was such a relief to know she was being cared for and felt a sense of security in your care."
- Georgette, Newnan, GA
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