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Seek Help For Sinus Pain



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Seek Help For Sinus Pain

FARMINGTON — Sinus infections are the most common chronic medical condition in the United States today, affecting more than 37 million Americans. Many people, however, confuse painful sinusitis symptoms with recurrent cold or allergies and therefore do not seek help from medical professionals.

“If a person suspects they have sinusitis, it’s important to seek medical attention,” explains ear, nose and throat specialist Gerald Leonard, MD, of the University of Connecticut Health Center. “Acute sinusitis may require treatment with antibiotics and chronic sinusitis can require a range of different, and more aggressive treatments. The good news is that help is available,” he said.

Sinusitis is caused by anything that blocks sinus drainage or prevents cilia (the tiny hairs inside the sinus) from sweeping properly. Factors that can lead to acute sinusitis include cold, allergies, and smoking. Most acute sinus infections develop at the end of a head cold. Cold viruses do not cause bacterial sinusitis, but they set the stage by causing sinus openings to swell shut. Allergic substances can cause swelling of the nasal passages and block the openings between the sinuses and the nose. Tobacco smoke can inhibit mucus drainage.

Symptoms of sinusitis include facial pain pressure, nasal obstruction, nasal discharge, and diminished sense of smell. Other symptoms can include bad breath, fever, fatigue, dental pain, and cough.

Factors that can lead to chronic sinusitis include: fungal infections, nasal polyps, insufficient opening between the sinuses and the nose, and a deviated septum.

Acute sinusitis can last for four weeks or more. The condition may be present when the patient has two or more symptoms and the presence of thick, green or yellow nasal discharge. Acute sinusitis is generally treated with ten to 14 days of antibiotic care. Chronic sinusitis can be more difficult to treat and can include a range of medications, nasal sprays and/or surgery.

Sinus surgery has become more safe and precise through the advent of new, computer-guided technologies, Dr Leonard explained. For more information about sinus care at the UConn Health Center, call 800-535-6232.

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