Physical examination from your doctor and showing symptoms can diagnose sinusitis.
The exam may include the doctor feeling and pressing your sinuses for tenderness. He or she may also tap your teeth to see if you have an inflamed paranasal sinus.
Acute sinusitis may be diagnosed when a person has two or more symptoms and/or the presence of thick, green, or yellow nasal discharge.
Other diagnostic tests to assess the potential causes for sinusitis may include:
- mucus culture
- nasal endoscopy
- allergy testing
- CT scan of the sinuses
- blood work
Medicines may be needed when symptoms of sinusitis are severe or do not improve. The goals of treatment with medicine are to:
- Treat the infection, which is usually caused by bacteria if your symptoms have lasted more than 7 to 10 days.
- Relieve pressure and pain caused by poor sinus drainage.
- Reduce inflammation of the nose and sinuses.
Medicines are used and sometimes combined to treat sinusitis. Be safe with medicines.
- Antibiotics kill bacteria.
- Decongestants reduce the swelling of the mucous membranes in the nose.
- Analgesics relieve pain.
- Corticosteroids reduce inflammation in the nasal passages.
- Mucolytics thin mucus.
What to think about
If you are taking antibiotics for a sinus infection, do not stop taking the antibiotics early just because you feel better. Take the entire course of antibiotics. The infection may not go away if you do not take all of the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.
Chronic sinusitis may last 12 weeks or longer and usually requires 3 to 4 weeks of antibiotic treatment. Symptoms may persist or return despite adequate antibiotic treatment. A different antibiotic may be needed to treat the infection. Referral to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist (also called an otolaryngologist) may be needed if symptoms of sinusitis do not go away despite long-term antibiotic treatment.