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Changing Face of Sinusitis: August 21, 2013

It's like having a bad cold that won't go away. Sixteen million Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis. Including John Boesch.

“I think I have a pre-disposition because I’ve had this problem over and over,” says Boesch.

The pain from inflamed nasal passages can be excruciating for some and unrelenting. It’s responsible for a huge number of medical visits nationwide.

“Sinusitis is actually is one of the most common presentations in primary care. Roughly 1 in 7 adults will present to their health care provider with inflammation,” says Arlene Wright, nurse practitioner with Lee Memorial Health System.

A careful review of symptoms will differentiate it from allergies.

“With allergies they should not be having colored discharge, they might have some headaches, they might have some sinus pressure, but not nearly to the extent they will have if it is truly an infection,” says Wright.

The diagnosis of sinusitis has been around for years, but it’s changing in the health care system.  This common condition is becoming so common there are rising concerns about the use of antibiotics to treat it.

“As soon as I start realizing what’s going on I start Amoxicillin and Mucinex,” says Boesch.

New guidelines for sinusitis are meant to discourage overuse of antibiotics- recommending conservative treatment first.

“Some type of acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory for the pain, nasal steroids to help reduce the inflammation, nasal saline to basically keep things moist. I think what the message has to be, is you do want to try the conservative at home measures first,” says Wright.

If symptoms last longer than 10 days, then you can ring up your health care provider and consider appropriate drugs.

“Usually about two weeks it’s gone and it stays gone,” says Boesch.