What is Acute Sinusitus?
Acute sinusitis occurs when the cavities that surround the nasal passages or sinuses become swollen and inflamed. This condition can make it a real challenge to breathe through the nose and can also cause headaches, severe facial pain, and/or swelling around the face and eyes.
The good news is that while acute sinusitis is a painful condition that often leads to a great deal of discomfort, it can be treated, typically with simple therapies. At NW Face Medical, Sunil Ummat, MD and his associates provide top-notch care and treatment for acute sinusitis in Kirkland, WA, Bellevue, WA, and the Seattle metro area.
Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis
The most common symptom of acute sinusitis is the drainage of a thick yellow or green discharge from the nose or the back of the throat. Acute sinusitis can also cause nasal congestion and make breathing through the nose extremely difficult. Sinusitis sufferers often experience pain and swelling around the eyes and nose that feels worse when bending over.
Other symptoms of acute sinusitis include headaches, uncomfortable ear pressure, an achy upper jaw, a diminished sense of smell and taste, bad breath, a cough which may worsen in the evening, weakness, fatigue, and fever.
Causes of Acute Sinusitis
In most cases, acute sinusitis is the result of the common cold. Patients with hay fever or other sinus conditions and those with immune system disorders or nasal passage abnormalities such as a deviated septum may be at a higher risk of developing this condition.
Diagnosing Acute Sinusitis
Patients who are experiencing any symptoms of acute sinusitis in Kirkland, WA are encouraged to visit our Seattle area office for a checkup. Our doctors will examine the nose and throat and feel the area for any signs of tenderness.
They may also perform a nasal endoscopy, which involves inserting a flexible tube with a fiber-optic light into the nose so that a doctor can examine the inside of the patient’s nasal cavities and sinuses. Imaging studies such as CT scans or MRIs may also be necessary to reveal details of the sinus and nasal area.
In the event that one of our doctors believes that allergies may have caused a patient’s acute sinusitis, they may suggest an allergy skin test. Through an allergy skin test, a doctor can determine the exact allergen that may be contributing to nasal issues.
What to Expect During a Consultation
Patients who are displaying any of the symptoms of acute sinusitis in Kirkland, WA are encouraged to schedule a consultation at our office. Our doctors will take the time to evaluate the patient’s condition and perform diagnostic exams if necessary.
If signs of acute sinusitis are present, Dr. Ummat will design a customized treatment plan that will likely start with conservative treatments. In the event that these conservative treatments do not help, surgery may ultimately be necessary.
Treating Acute Sinusitis
Many patients are surprised to learn that acute sinusitis in Kirkland, WA can typically be treated with conservative treatments. Here’s a brief overview of several of the treatment options our physicians may recommend:
There are a variety of medications that may help patients with acute sinusitis in Kirkland, WA find relief. A saline nasal spray, which is sprayed into the nose throughout the day to rinse the nasal passages may help ease symptoms. Nasal sprays such as Flonase or Nasonex may be an alternative option for patients with moderate to severe cases of inflammation.
Over-the-counter decongestants may be beneficial as long as they are taken in moderation. Using too many of these medications may lead to rebound congestion. Pain relievers such as Tylenol and Advil may aid with pain relief.
In most cases, antibiotics are necessary to treat acute sinusitis. If Dr. Ummat prescribes antibiotics to a patient with acute sinusitis in Kirkland, WA, they will need to take the entire course, even if their symptoms improve after only a few doses. This is because if they stop taking them early, they may experience recurring symptoms.
Immunotherapy may be an effective treatment if a patient’s allergies have played a role in their acute sinusitis. This treatment involves taking allergy shots on a regular schedule to change the way the immune system responds to certain allergens. It is ideal for patients with hay fever symptoms or those who are allergic to tree, grass, and weed pollen.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
Our doctors may recommend simple steps patients can take to find relief and improve their symptoms. They may suggest that patients get plenty of rest and drink as much water as possible to promote drainage. They may also encourage patients to steam their nasal passages by draping a towel over their head and breathing in vapor from a bowl of hot water in order to aid the mucus in draining and minimize pain.
Warm compresses applied to the face may also be able to ease facial pain. Using a neti pot or another nasal lavage may also be an effective way for a patient to clear their sinuses. Sleeping with an elevated head to assist in sinus drainage and reduce congestion may be effective as well. These home remedies may need to be combined with other treatment options, depending on the physician’s recommendations.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
While surgery is considered a last resort treatment for acute sinusitis, it is sometimes necessary, especially for patients with chronic sinusitis. At NW Face Medical in the Bellevue, WA area, we perform endoscopic sinus surgery, which is intended to open the pathways of the sinuses. During this procedure, a surgeon will remove the delicate bone and mucous membranes that obstruct the drainage pathways of the sinuses. They’ll use a tiny telescope to perform the surgery through the nostrils and won’t need to make any incisions.
Endoscopic sinus surgery is usually an outpatient procedure that is performed under general anesthesia. After surgery, patients may experience mild bleeding and fatigue for a few days. They should refrain from blowing their nose or lifting more than 20 pounds. We recommend taking off at least one week off of work and strenuous activities.
Patients will be required to visit our office for multiple post-op checkups. During these checkups, Dr. Ummat and his colleagues will evaluate the healing state of the sinuses via a nasal endoscopy.
Patients who have a deviated septum or a similar abnormality of the nasal cavities may need to undergo a septoplasty to straighten the septum and improve breathing. This surgery involves a small incision and dissolvable stitches that are well-concealed in the nostril area.
Preventing Acute Sinusitis
There are several steps patients can take to reduce their risk of acute sinusitis. First and foremost, they should get into the habit of thoroughly washing their hands with soap and water to prevent illness, especially before and after they eat. They should also try to stay away from others who have an illness, such as a viral or bacterial infection.
Patients with severe allergy symptoms are encouraged to collaborate with their doctor to treat the issue. Those who smoke should attempt to quit as smoking can inflame and irritate the lungs and nasal passages.
Another effective way to reduce the risk of acute and chronic sinusitis is to use a humidifier to get rid of any dry air in a patient’s home. Patients who use humidifiers must make sure that they clean their humidifier on a regular basis so that it remains clear of mold that could worsen symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions About Acute Sinusitis
What are the sinuses?
The air-filled spaces between the bones and upper face are known as the sinuses. Sinuses can be found between the eyes as well as behind the nose, cheeks, and forehead. Their main role is to create mucus that moisturizes the inside of the nose and protects against pollutants such as dirt and dust. When a sinus infection occurs, however, the sinuses can become congested and swollen, causing a range of uncomfortable symptoms.
How common is acute sinusitis?
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, acute sinusitis is a very common condition. It affects approximately 1 in 8 adults each year.
When does acute sinusitis become a chronic condition?
Most cases of acute sinusitis resolve on their own with conservative treatments at home. However, if the condition lasts more than eight weeks, it is considered to be chronic sinusitis and requires immediate medical attention.
Can eating a healthy diet help prevent acute sinusitis?
Yes. By sticking to a nutritious diet of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein, patients can keep their immune systems strong and reduce their risk of developing acute sinusitis.
What are the signs that acute sinusitis has spread?
Patients who experience a severe headache that is not responsive to medication, changes in vision, and/or a high-grade fever may have a condition that has spread beyond the sinuses. They should seek medical attention right away.
Can acupuncture help with acute sinusitis?
Although there is no evidence that acupuncture improves acute sinusitis, some patients have reported they have found some relief by receiving acupuncture treatments. It’s important that patients see a doctor who specializes in acute sinusitis rather than solely relying on an acupuncturist.
How long should saline nasal sprays be used?
We recommend using saline nasal sprays several times a day. They may be an effective way to rinse and clear the nasal passages.
Why Choose NW Face Medical
Are you suffering from acute sinusitis in Kirkland, WA? If so, you owe it to yourself to come to NW Face Medical. Dr. Sunil Ummat, our ear, nose, and throat specialist, is dedicated to providing each and every patient with compassionate, customized care.
You can depend on our physicians to thoroughly evaluate your condition, pinpoint its cause, and make recommendations that will help you feel better and improve your quality of life. We have helped countless patients with acute sinusitis find relief and look forward to meeting you. We serve patients from all over the Seattle, WA area, including Bellevue, WA at our Kirkland office.
Schedule a Consultation at NW Face Medical
If you have symptoms of acute sinusitis in Kirkland, WA or have been diagnosed with this condition and have not found relief, contact our Seattle area office to meet with one of our doctors. They can design a customized treatment plan that can help you find the relief you deserve. Call us at 425.576.1700 or fill out our handy online contact form.
- Address 3105 Carillon Point Kirkland, WA 98033
- Phone (425) 522-0555