Dr. Kratz is a member and past president of the Pasco County Medical Society. A board-certified allergist and immunologist, his practice has been caring for residents of Port Richey and Trinity, Florida, for more than 18 years.
What is Sinusitis or Rhinosinusitis?
Put simply; sinusitis is inflammation of the lining of the sinuses. The sinuses are hollow, air-filled spaces in the facial bones around the nasal cavity, which warm and filter the air before it’s breathed into the lungs. Sinusitis is more properly called rhinosinusitis—“rhino” meaning “nose”—since the tissue lining both the sinuses and the nasal passages is usually involved. Rhinosinusitis can be caused by bacterial or viral infection, or may be the result of allergies. Hay fever is a common form of allergic rhinosinusitis.
What Are The Symptoms of Sinusitis or Rhinosinusitis?
The most common symptoms include a stuffy, runny nose, facial pain or pressure—especially in the cheekbones on either side of the nose and in the forehead. Headaches are common, along with congestion and coughing. Coughing and congestion are usually worse at night. Sinusitis may also cause pain in the teeth, bad breath, and can dull the senses of smell and taste.
What’s the Difference Between Sinusitis/Rhinosinusitis and a Cold?
While the symptoms of a cold and sinusitis are sometimes similar—and in fact sinusitis is often preceded by a cold—they’re two very different things. Colds are caused by a virus and usually last from 5-10 days, with the worst occurring between days 3-5. Sinusitis can also be caused by a viral infection, along with bacterial infections or allergies. Sinusitis doesn’t resolve itself within ten days and often gets worse. Chronic sinusitis may last several weeks or even months.
What Can an Allergist Do for Sinusitis/Rhinosinusitis?
If your sinusitis or rhinosinusitis is due to allergies, and allergist can help determine exactly what you’re allergic to and determine the most appropriate treatment for your individual needs.