Charlottesville Allergy & Respiratory Enterprises
434-295-ASAP (2727) 1524 Insurance Lane, Suite B, Charlottesville, Virginia 22911

Sinusitis in Charlottesville

Sinuses are hollow cavities in different areas of the face, including within the cheek bones, behind the nose and around the eyes. Sinusitis involves swelling of one or more of the nasal sinuses and nasal passages. Individuals suffering from sinusitis often experience head congestion, pressure in the sinus areas, stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, cough, discolored nasal discharge, headache, fever and feelings of fullness in the ears. The term acute sinusitis refers to these symptoms lasting for less than four weeks. Many of the symptoms of acute sinusitis begin with common cold viruses and then have an added-on bacterial infection. In contrast, the term chronic sinusitis is used when symptoms last three months or longer. Often, the cause for chronic sinusitis is a combination of swelling and infection. Physicians use the term recurrent sinusitis when three or more acute episodes of sinusitis occur in a year.

Allergies or "hay fever" may add on to the individual's risk for having sinusitis since allergies can result in swelling of both the sinuses and the nasal mucosa. This swelling then slows the normal draining ability of the sinuses which further increases the likelihood of developing secondary bacterial sinusitis. Rarely, problems with the individual's immune system may also present with chronic or recurrent sinusitis. Furthermore, individuals with problems related to the structure of the nose, such as deviated nasal septum or narrow drainage passages, may also cause sinusitis. In order to make an accurate diagnosis of sinusitis and its causative factors, your allergist will take a detailed history, perform a physical exam and may need to order certain tests.

Treatment of sinusitis may require use of medications to reduce blockage, control allergies or thin the drainage. Antibiotics may also be indicated to treat any secondary bacterial infections. Non-pharmaceutical measures such as breathing in hot, moist air and washing the nasal cavities with salt water, are often very helpful.

(Information only; not intended to replace medical advice; adapted from AAAAI)