When Your Symptoms Aren’t Just a Common Cold

It’s winter here in Southern California and that means cooler temperatures, drier air, and the occasional cold. 

If you've experienced a cold, that means you’re at higher risk for developing a sinus infection, or sinusitis. At our practice in Newport Beach, California, Dr. Alexis Furze and Eugene Yamamoto, PA-C have extensive experience helping people breathe easier and recover faster from symptoms related to sinusitis. Read on to learn when your symptoms indicate something more than the common cold and what you can do to recover.

What causes a sinus infection?

Your sinuses, hollow spaces in the bones of your face around your eyes, nose, and cheeks, play an important role in keeping your nasal passages moist. The cavities are lined with mucous membranes, and when you have a cold or allergy symptoms these membranes become irritated and inflamed. 

The irritation triggers increase mucus production, which can get trapped in the inflamed passageways making it difficult to breathe. This also creates the perfect home for infection to grow. The result? A sinus infection that can outlast the cold or allergy that caused it in the first place.  

How can I tell if it’s sinusitis?   

It can be challenging to distinguish sinusitis from the common cold or allergies. To help you know what symptoms to look for, we’ve curated this list of the top five sinusitis symptoms:

1. Cold-like symptoms that linger

With the common cold, symptoms peak around day two or three and then begin to improve. If your congestion, cough, and sore throat don’t improve after 10 days, or if they start to get worse, sinusitis may be the cause.

2. Yellow or green nasal mucus 

When you have a simple cold, the mucus draining from your nose is typically clear or white. If you notice yellow or green mucus or mucus that is very thick, a sinus infection is usually to blame. You might also see blood in the mucus as your sinusitis worsens.

3. Facial pain along with cold symptoms

If you notice tenderness, swelling, and pressure around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead, sinusitis might be the cause of your symptoms. With sinusitis, this pain usually gets worse when you bend over and pressure builds. It can also be especially painful in the morning since the fluids collect overnight. You may also develop redness in the sinus areas or experience pain in your jaw, ears, or teeth.

4. Bad breath that won’t quit 

The constant drain and plugged breathing passageways can create noticeable odors in your mouth. If you’ve done your best to brush away the bad breath that accompanied your cold, sinusitis might be the cause.

5. Postnasal drip is making you hoarse and sore

Sinusitis causes postnasal drip, which is mucus that drains down the back of your throat. This can create persistent coughing that irritates your throat, causing you to become hoarse and sore. With sinusitis, the cough typically worsens at night when you go to bed.

Is there help for sinusitis?

If you have sinusitis, different treatments can help alleviate your symptoms and provide relief. Based on the root cause of the issue, Dr. Furze makes different treatment recommendations. 

If your drainage passageways are inflamed, blocked, or narrowed, and you have no structural abnormalities, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure called balloon sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure, and Dr. Furze won’t need to make any incisions or cuts. After you receive anesthesia, Dr. Furze guides a catheter that holds a tiny deflated balloon into your sinus cavity. 

Once the balloon is in place, it’s inflated and causes the inflamed sinus tissue to retreat. This creates an open space in the sinus cavity so you can breathe easier. Recovery is quick, and you’ll only need to take it easy for a day or so before returning to normal activities.

Ready to stop sniffing and start breathing?

To find out what’s at the root of your sinusitis and get relief from your symptoms, contact Dr. Furze in Newport Beach, California, and book your appointment today.

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