Is your discomfort caused by a cold or chronic sinusitis?
Have you experienced a sore throat, cough, or sneezing? If so, you may be suffering from a common cold. Chronic sinusitis, however, is a serious con-dition and is oftentimes mistaken by patients as a common cold. Symptoms for this include stuffy nose, sinus pain, fatigue and reduced sense of smell and taste.
We spoke with Dr. Anit Patel, otolaryngologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, to find out more about chronic sinusitis and the treat-ments available to help relieve your sinus symptoms.
Q: What is a cold?
When a virus manages to overpower the body's immune system, infection occurs. Because a cold is a virus, antibiotics won’t help. Over-the-counter medications used to cure a common cold should target your symptoms, this may mean separate headache, fever and congestion remedies.
Q: How can I know if what I’m experiencing is a cold?
If your symptoms are persistent, it is best to contact your healthcare provider who can help de-termine the cause of your nasal discomfort. Chronic sinusitis and a common cold share similar symptoms, but have varying treatment methods.
Q: What is chronic sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis is classified by symptoms that persist for more than 12 weeks. It is caused by prolonged inflammation as opposed to a longstanding infection. The buildup of fluids and the ina-bility for them to drain because of the inflammation can, however, cause infections. Different fac-tors that can cause chronic sinusitis include allergies, nasal polyps, asthma and in various cas-es, something making it difficult for your body to fight infection.
Q: How is chronic sinusitis treated?
Antibiotics are normally prescribed as the first method to ridding yourself of chronic sinusitis. If that does not work, however, minimally invasive sinus surgery may be the best option. This method involves opening the passageways and inserting a small, spring-like device called PRO-PEL. This device releases a steroid into the nasal passages and dissolves after a few weeks so there is no need to have any additional surgical procedures to remove it following the initial pro-cedure. Recovery is faster than traditional sinus surgery as there are no incisions and no black eyes or additional discomfort for the patient to worry about.
Questioning whether your symptoms are caused by a cold or chronic sinusitis?
Contact one of our BID physicians today to find out.