The Basics of Sinusitis
One of the common sources of confusion about sinusitis is that it can be caused by both viruses and bacteria. The term sinusitis is merely descriptive – it literally means “irritation of the sinuses” – so nailing down a proper diagnosis requires more than just a list of symptoms. It requires a culture as well.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, of which I am a member, maintains a simple and lucid site that explains issues such as this one is layman’s terms. In the case of sinusitis, the difference between viral and bacterial causes is described thusly:
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY ACUTE SINUSITIS IS CAUSED BY VIRUSES OR BACTERIA?
Acute viral sinusitis is likely if you have been sick less than 10 days and are not getting worse.
Acute bacterial sinusitis is likely when you do not improve at all within 10 days of getting sick or when you get worse within 10 days after beginning to get better.
As the article goes on to discuss, this difference is important because it dictates whether or not you might need antibiotics. It’s always wise to err on the side of caution with powerful drugs such as these, especially since we are overprescribing them in record numbers.
But if you do have the symptoms of recurring acute sinusitis, which also known as chronic sinusitis, you may be a candidate for sinus surgery. Contact my practice today to learn more.