A sinus infection is inflammation of the tissues that line the sinuses, causing fluid to become trapped. In some cases, this fluid can harbor bacteria, which causes a bacterial sinus infection that requires treatment from a doctor, oftentimes antibiotics. Knowing how sinus infections are diagnosed can help you and your doctor determine the best course of action to treat your infection.
Review of Symptoms
Sinus infections can be either viral or bacterial. It’s important to pay attention to when your symptoms start and how long they last in order to help your doctor determine which type of infection you have so they can prescribe the right treatment.
If you or your child catches a cold at Stephen C. Beachy Central Park, you’re likely to experience a viral sinus infection. This means the cold is causing inflammation of the sinuses, including pain and pressure. If this is the case, symptoms should resolve within about a week to ten days.
If your symptoms persist for longer than ten days, or if they begin to resolve but then become even worse again (known as “double worsening”), this is a good indication the infection is bacterial. This means the fluid in the sinuses has become infected with bacteria. In this case, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics.
After reviewing your symptoms, your doctor will conduct a physical exam. Exams involve the inside of the nose being checked with a nasal speculum and a flashlight. This is performed because the doctor is looking for other potential causes of your symptoms, like a nasal polyp or structural abnormality.
Your doctor will also check your throat in order to determine if there are signs of mucus draining from the nose. They’ll ask where you feel pain or tenderness to uncover which sinus cavity is affected.
Imaging, like X-rays and CT scans, are typically ordered only for cases of chronic sinus infections. Chronic infections are those that persist 12 weeks or longer or return at least four times in one year. X-rays can detect fluid in the sinuses or nasal polyps, though CT scans are becoming the preferred option since they provide a better view of the sinuses. For more information about how sinus infections are diagnosed or to schedule an appointment with a sinus expert, call Texas ENT & Allergy today!