Allergies, Cold or Chronic Sinusitis?


Allergies, Cold or Chronic Sinusitis?

Brandpoint (BPT)

(BPT) – A runny nose that won’t let up. Congestion to the point of discomfort. Is it allergies? A cold? Or could it be sinusitis?

Sinusitis affects about 1 in 8 adults in the United States, resulting in more than 30 million annual diagnoses, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. Those with chronic sinusitis typically suffer from a combination of nasal congestion, facial pain and pressure, decreased sense of smell, and other symptoms that can impact quality of life.

With symptoms that can mimic a bout of allergies or a common cold, people with chronic sinusitis may misdiagnose themselves, reaching for an over-the-counter remedy, like cold medicine or nose spray, but these medications only offer the temporary relief of symptoms.

That’s why it’s important to see a primary care doctor or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist to receive a proper diagnosis. A growing number of Americans are turning to a minimally invasive procedure performed by Ear, Nose and Throat physicians (ENTs) that may be an effective solution for millions of sinusitis suffers.

Lauren G. was doing all she could to manage her chronic sinusitis and relied on medication to reduce her coughing, shortness of breath, and postnasal drip.

“Even though my symptoms got better when I was on antibiotics, my symptoms would get worse again when I came off them. Because my symptoms continued to return whenever I got off antibiotics, my doctor recommended balloon sinuplasty as an alternative since it was minimally invasive.”

When medication wasn’t able to control Lauren’s sinusitis, she opted for a balloon sinuplasty procedure. This minimally invasive treatment offered a successful solution to her chronic sinusitis.

“I would definitely recommend the balloon sinuplasty to a family or friend because the recovery time was easy, and I no longer have symptoms,” Lauren said.

“As an ENT I see people suffer needlessly when we have good treatment options available,” said Ryan Vaughn, M.D., otolaryngologist, Exhale Sinus and Facial Pain Center. “There are long-term solutions available to millions of people who write off their symptoms as an allergy or a cold. The best thing a person can do is see an ENT specialist and end the suffering.”

What You Need to Know About Sinusitis

Sinusitis is often classified by duration as acute sinusitis when symptoms last for less than 4 weeks or chronic sinusitis when symptoms last more than 12 weeks. While acute sinusitis is typically caused by viruses or bacteria, chronic sinusitis usually stems from prolonged inflammation rather than a longstanding infection. Distinguishing between the type of infection is important as it will determine the best treatment option. For example, while chronic sinusitis is typically treated first with medication, at least 20% of people do not respond adequately to such treatment and may require sinus surgery, according to the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy.

Your doctor should determine the right treatments based on your symptoms. When speaking with your doctor, here are some treatment options available to consider and discuss:

Natural remedies include cool and hot mist vaporizers, steam, nasal irrigation, and sinus rinsing.

Medical Management of sinusitis includes nasal steroids, antibiotics, mucus thinning drugs, decongestants, nasal sprays, oral steroids, and over-the-counter pain relievers. An estimated 20% of chronic sinusitis patients are not successfully treated with medical therapy.

Sinus surgery may be recommended when medical management methods are not enough to relieve patients’ symptoms. Surgical treatment may include Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery.

Balloon Sinuplasty is an effective treatment for sinusitis and may be a preferred option for many patients, in fact, 96% of patients experience symptomatic improvement at 52 weeks with balloon-only treatment.

A helpful resource is available at where you can learn more about sinusitis symptoms, treatment options, and common questions. A patient questionnaire is available for download to help you navigate your conversation with your doctor.