Sinus Infections

Written by Norene Anderson
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Sinus infections can go undetected for quite a long time. It often begins with a cold that keeps hanging on or it gets worse after about a week. Some of the symptoms include nasal discharge and congestion accompanied by a sore throat and postnasal drip. Pressure can build up in any or all the sinus cavities and cause pain behind the eyes and above the teeth. There is also tenderness on the face above the sinuses.

Sinus infections may or may not be associated with fever. This is one reason many infections are not diagnosed sooner. If there is no fever, many presume there is no infection present. That is certainly not the case with sinusitis. Quite often, fatigue and just feeling bad will be the major symptoms as the infection progresses. A bad taste in your mouth or bad breath usually accompanies an infection in the sinuses.

Diagnosing Sinus Infections

Diagnosis is made by gently tapping over the sinuses and illuminating the nasal passageway. If there are symptoms of sinusitis without definitive diagnostic criteria, it may be necessary to do a CT scan of the sinuses. This is the best way to have clinical proof of a diagnosis. Cultures from the nasal drainage can provide information to determine the antibiotic of choice.

Sinus infections can involve tumors or fungal infections. In this case, an MRI is a better diagnostic procedure. Chronic sinusitis may be an indication of an underlying disorder. If routine treatment does not resolve the recurring or chronic sinusitis, other tests may be indicated such as ciliary function tests, nasal cytology, and tests for cystic fibrosis.


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