If you have symptoms like nasal discharge and congestion that hang around longer than 10 days, chances are you’ve developed a sinus infection. Laura Ispas, MD, of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Institute has years of experience targeting the underlying cause of sinus infections, which often develop due to allergies, then helping patients get relief from their symptoms. Don’t keep suffering from ongoing sinus infections. Call the office in Leesburg, VA and serving the greater Lansdowne, VA and Ashburn, VA areas or book an appointment online.
Sinus Infections Q & A
What causes a sinus infection?
You have four pairs of sinuses, which are air-filled spaces found in the bones of your face along your nose. Each sinus is lined with membranes that produce mucus. Normally, this mucus flows through a small opening and into your nose.
A sinus infection (sinusitis) develops when the membranes inside the sinus become inflamed and swollen. When that happens, mucus gets trapped inside the sinus and an infection develops.
There are two primary causes of sinus infections:
Allergies, such as hay fever, often cause sinus infections. Seasonal allergies are typically triggered by tree pollen in the spring, grass pollen in the summer, and ragweed in the fall. If you suffer from year-round sinus infections, it may be due to mold, dust mite, or pet dander allergies.
Viral or bacterial infections
The same virus that’s responsible for the common cold also causes sinus infections. Less often, sinusitis may arise from a bacterial infection.
Viral sinusitis usually clears up within 10 days, while bacterial infections either don’t improve in 10 days, or they worsen after you start feeling better.
What is the difference between acute, chronic, and recurring sinus infection?
An acute sinus infection is caused by a viral or bacterial infection that lasts less than four weeks. If your symptoms last 12 weeks or longer, you’ve developed a chronic sinus infection.
Chronic sinus infections are different because they’re caused by ongoing inflammation instead of a viral or bacterial infection. However, chronic sinusitis makes you vulnerable to developing bacterial infections that temporarily worsen your chronic symptoms.
Recurrent sinus infections occur when you have several bouts of acute sinusitis. You may have four or more acute sinus infections over the course of a year, but if your symptoms clear up between each one, you have recurrent sinusitis.
What sinus infection symptoms might I develop?
Sinusitis causes symptoms such as:
- Thick, discolored discharge
- Nasal congestion
- Facial pain and pressure
- Loss of sense of smell and taste
- Aching jaws
- Sore throat
Allergic sinusitis may also be accompanied by sneezing, a runny nose, and an itchy nose or eyes.
How are sinus infections treated?
Dr. Ispas develops a treatment plan based on the cause and type of sinus infection. If your sinus infection is due to allergies, she may run skin tests to identify your specific allergens, then recommend treatment, such as allergy shots and ways to avoid your allergens.
If you suffer from an ongoing sinus infection, call Allergy Asthma & Immunology Institute or book an appointment online.