Acute bacterial sinusitis usually happens after a person develops an upper respiratory tract infection (a cold). Colds are caused by viruses, but they cause swelling in the nasal passages and may make it difficult for the sinuses to drain normally. The sinuses can then become infected with bacteria.
Chronic sinusitis is dueto long-standing inflammation and swelling that do not go away on their own. Sometimes people who have chronic sinusitis develop acute sinusitis in addition to their existing condition.
Nasal polyps, growths within the nasal cavity, block drainage from the sinuses and can be part of chronic sinusitis. Individuals who have hay fever and nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis) or who have asthma are more likely to develop chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps.
Patients with these symptoms may be referred to an allergist or an otolaryngologist, a doctor with specialized education in the management of ear, nose, and throat disorders.
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