Sneezing. Coughing. A Bright Red Nose
Is it a cold? It could be, but it seems like it’s sticking around way too long to be a cold. It could be a problem with your sinuses.
The sinuses are air-filled spaces found in the bones of the head and face.
There are four pairs of sinuses, located on either side of the nose in your cheeks, behind and between the eyes, in the forehead, and at the back of the nasal cavity.
The sinuses are lined with a moist, thin layer of tissue called a mucous membrane. The mucous membranes help moisten the air as you breathe it in. The mucous membrane also makes mucus, the sticky stuff that comes out of our noses. This traps germs and dust in the air we breathe.
If you have allergies or catch a cold, the mucous membrane gets swollen and irritated, and produces even more mucus.
Good Sinuses Gone Bad
A cold virus can cause the mucous lining of the nose to become swollen, which narrows and blocks the small opening from the sinuses into the nose. Cold viruses cause the sinuses to produce more, thicker, stickier mucus, making it more difficult to clear the sinuses. The openings which drain the sinuses are very tiny and can become blocked very easily, turning the sinuses into a stagnant pond where bacteria, viruses, and fungi can grow.
If a cold lasts for more than 10 to 14 days, you may have a sinus infection, or sinusitis.
Over 35 million Americans are affected by sinusitis each year.
Fever, Cough, Nasal Discharge: Chronic Sinusitis Symptoms
Chronic sinusitis occurs when symptoms persist for more than 3 months. Symptoms may include fever, persistent nasal discharge that often is yellow or green, a daytime cough which may be worse at night, puffy eyes upon waking, or bad breath.
Bacterial Infection? Virus? How Will I Know What's Causing My Discomfort?
Your Virginia Sinus Center ENT will examine your ears, throat, and nose to determine if you have a sinus infection. If you have a sinus infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, which will help by killing the bacteria. If it is a bacterial infection, the antibiotic should help you feel better in a few days, or a decongestant or nasal spray might also be prescribed to aid your recovery. However, if it's a virus, antibiotic medicine won’t be effective.
How Bad Are Your Sinuses?
Are you experiencing sinus pain, swelling, congestion or irritation? Painful sinus symptoms can make your life miserable.
Take the Sinus Quiz now to learn more about your level of sinus symptoms.