I feel like I have a head cold that just won’t go away. What should I do?

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If you have “head cold” symptoms that persist for more than 10 days or if your symptoms get worse after a period of starting to get better, you may have sinusitis.

Sinuses are air filled spaces in the facial bones around the nose. Each sinus connects to the nose through small, narrow openings. In normal, healthy sinuses, air from the nose enters the sinuses, and mucus from the sinuses drains into the nose then down the throat.

Sinusitis is an infection and/or inflammation of the sinuses. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria and/or fungus. The body’s reaction to these organisms or other sources of inflammation cause swelling in the tissue that lines the sinuses which can block the openings of the sinuses into the nose. Once the openings of the sinuses are blocked, mucus can build up in the sinus cavities causing more symptoms.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have sinusitis:

    • Nasal congestion and/or nasal drainage, especially cloudy or colored drainage
    • Facial pain and/or pressure
    • Decreased ability to smell
    • Fatigue
    • Teeth pain
    • Ear fullness

Sinusitis is very common. According to the CDC, 28.5 million adults are diagnosed each year. A healthcare provider can diagnose acute sinusitis by reviewing your medical history and doing a physical exam. If your sinusitis is more chronic or severe, the healthcare provider may use an endoscope or even order a CT scan to get a better view of your sinuses where they connect to the nose. You may also be tested for allergies and immune function. This testing will help tell chronic or recurrent sinus infections from allergies.

Whether acute or chronic, the good news is that sinusitis can be easily treated. Treatments vary based on the classification of sinusitis determined by your healthcare provider. Benefits of treatment may include:

    • Improved drainage pathways from the sinuses into the nose
    • Reduction in frequency and severity of sinus infections
    • Improved sense of smell

Where can I find help?

Charleston ENT & Allergy is now open in Murrells Inlet! Located at 4835 Highway 17 North, Suite B, their board certified physicians are here to help with all of your Ear, Nose, Throat and Allergy needs. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call 843-766-7103 or visit www.CharlestonENT.com.