Sinusitis — also known as a sinus infection — is, for the most part, a bacterial infection caused by inflammation of the sinuses. Chronic and recurring long-lasting sinusitis can render you incapacitated and quickly eat up your sick days.
But when your sinusitis won’t go away, what options do you have? This guide walks you through how to identify a sinus infection, what happens if you ignore it, how to treat your chronic sinusitis, and more.
How long should it take for a bad sinus infection to go away?
Before we delve into what to do when your sinusitis won’t go away, let’s figure out whether you have a sinus infection in the first place. The symptoms shared between the common cold, chronic sinusitis, and chronic allergies, are similar — making it rather difficult to deduce which culprit is causing your sinus issues.
One major differentiator, however, is time. A cold (caused by a virus) should go away within a week. If your “cold” lasts longer than 7-10 days, it’s likely that your cold has either turned into a bacterial sinus infection, or you actually had a sinus infection from the very beginning. Whatever the case, if your symptoms persist for more than a week, it’s best to see a doctor.
Once your doctor determines treatment, your sinus infection symptoms (even those of a very bad sinus infection) should begin to subside within a few days.
Can a sinus infection last for months?
Sinusitis won’t go away at the drop of a hat. It tends to linger and, if left untreated, it can last for months. Again, it’s best to take a trip to your doctor’s office if your symptoms last longer than one week.
Note that there is a chance that long-term sinus issues may be caused by allergens. If this is the case, then your sinus symptoms will likely last until you can escape the allergen or have the allergies treated.
What happens if a sinus infection is left untreated?
For some lucky people, sinus infections may go away if left untreated. Rest and hydration will certainly help with this.
For others, however, sinusitis won’t go away until you seek treatment. If this is the case, a sinus infection left untreated may cause further complications (as chronic sinusitis can actually spread to the eyes and the brain).
When sinusitis spreads to areas around the eyes, you may experience redness and swelling, which can reduce vision. The most severe form of sinusitis reaching the eye is called cavernous sinus thrombosis and can actually cause blindness. It is treated by antibiotics (administered through an IV) and drainage of sinus fluids.
Sinusitis that reaches the brain may cause meningitis and brain abscesses.
Can sinusitis cause death?
Chronic sinusitis can spread to the eyes, blood, and brain, and, in rare circumstances, cause death. For that reason, it’s important to take instances of sinusitis that won’t go away very seriously. If you have a persistent sinus infection, make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions regarding your antibiotics and of course, get plenty of rest.
How to get rid of sinusitis.
If you want to get rid of your sinusitis, you and your ENT will need to work together to discover the source of your sinus infections. For example, your sinusitis might always be precipitated by a cold, or you could have a deviated septum and sinusitis or sinusitis and sleep apnea. Regardless, finding the root cause behind your recurrent or prolonged sinusitis will help determine treatment.
Once the source of your sinus infections is found, you and your ENT will need to discuss treatment options. For those with recurrent sinus issues, one treatment, in particular, has proven itself effective again and again. That treatment option is balloon sinuplasty.
Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive, in-office procedure that takes less than 20 minutes to perform and requires little to no recovery time.
Sinusitis won’t go away? Consider balloon sinuplasty.
Whether this is your first bout with sinusitis that won’t go away or you experience sinus infections on a regular basis, you should know that getting rid of sinusitis is well within reach.
At Sinus Solutions of South Florida, Dr. Napoleon G. Bequer has provided hundreds of patients with relief from chronic sinusitis using the balloon sinuplasty procedure. So if you have sinusitis that won’t go away, contact us online, call us at 561-790-7744, or take our sinus quiz today to see if you’re a viable candidate for balloon sinuplasty.