Sinus infection symptoms can be mistaken for an allergy or the common cold. Go through this article to know more about diagnosis of sinusitis.
Sinus infection is a common condition in humans. Its symptoms are often confused with other medical conditions like an allergy or the common cold. Try to understand the characteristic symptoms of a sinus infection. However, self diagnosis and/or self medication is not advisable. You have to contact a specialist and get the condition diagnosed and treated.
As mentioned above, diagnosis of a medical condition is a task that is better left to doctors. However, a fair understanding about the symptoms of sinusitis will help you in differentiating the condition from others. However, you have to confirm it with specific diagnostic procedures conducted by your physician.
Sinusitis, which is characterized by inflammation of the sinus cavities, is a condition that is mainly caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Even fungal infection of the sinus cavities may cause sinusitis. In some cases, a deviated nasal septum or exposure to pollutants are found to cause this condition. Sinusitis is classified into three types – acute, sub-acute and chronic. While an acute condition lasts for around a month, in case of sub-acute sinusitis, the symptoms may last for a time period of one to three months. Chronic cases are found to last for more than three months.
Symptoms of a Sinus Infection
One of the common sinusitis symptoms is headache that will be more concentrated on the forehead. Other symptoms include facial pain and pressure, especially in areas around the eyes. In some cases, the pain may radiate to the jawbone and even teeth. The affected person may also have post nasal drip, nasal congestion, cold and cough. The nasal discharge may have a yellow or greenish tinge. Even milky white nasal discharge is seen in some cases.
Some people may experience fever, sore throat, along with bad breath and swollen eyelids. The symptoms are found to be more severe in case of acute sinusitis. The nature and severity of sinusitis may vary with the type of sinusitis and the specific sinus cavity that is infected and inflamed.
You may suspect a sinus infection if the affected person has the above said symptoms. But, these symptoms may develop in certain other conditions too. So, it is necessary to distinguish sinusitis from other medical conditions. Sinusitis is often diagnosed with the help of the medical history of the patient and the signs and symptoms exhibited by him. If the patient is sensitive to pressure applied on the forehead and cheekbones, then, sinus infection is suspected.
In other words, the affected person will experience pain, if pressure is applied on the forehead and cheekbones. The doctor may also use a source of light to check for signs of sinus inflammation or presence of nasal polyps. Once the symptoms and medical history of the patient is taken into account, the doctor will resort to some diagnostic procedures for detecting sinusitis.
- One of the common diagnostic procedures for detecting sinusitis is nasal endoscopy or rhinoplasty. This is done with the help of a tool, which is like a flexible tube with a fiber optic light. This tool allows the doctor to inspect the sinus cavities as well as the nasal passages. This helps in detecting abnormalities like inflammation, accumulation of mucus and deviated septum. The doctor may also collect samples from the cavities for further diagnosis.
- Other commonly used diagnostic tools for detecting sinusitis are CT scanning, MRI and X-ray. These imaging techniques help in detecting the abnormalities like inflammation and extent of infection. As compared to other two, CT scanning is considered the best. However, imaging techniques are used only when the patient has severe symptoms accompanied by high risk of developing complications.
- If the condition persists, even after treatment, especially with antibiotics, the doctor may opt for a needle puncture procedure. This invasive procedure is done under local anesthesia, so as to aspirate the sinus cavity and the contents are cultured to find out the agent that is causing the infection.
As in case of any other medical condition, diagnosis of a sinus infection is best done by your doctor. This article is for informative purposes only. If you develop such symptoms that last for more than a week, contact your doctor for right diagnosis and treatment.