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How Is a Sinus Infection Diagnosed?

How Is a Sinus Infection Diagnosed?


A physician can generally diagnose a sinus infection through medical history and physical examination.

More Info: If symptoms persist even after treatment then a specialist may perform more tests including:

CT Scan: With a CT scan your doctor can view your paranasal sinuses, passages, and surrounding structures.

Ultrasound: Though not as popular as the CT scan, and ultrasound can be used to diagnose a sinus infection.  Most ear, nose, and throat specialists (ENTs), or otorhinolaryngologists, prefer the CT scan for its more detailed image.

Nasopharyngoscope: This flexible, fiber-optic is inserted through the nose giving the physician a clear, physical view of the sinuses.

Sinus Draining: Though not common because CT scans are usually sufficient, your physician may withdraw fluid from you sinus for lab testing.

How Long Do Sinus Infections Last?

Sinus infections last 3-8 weeks or possibly longer, depending on which of the two types of the infection you are suffering from. Sinus infections, called sinusitis, can be either chronic or acute. The acute form often lasts less than three weeks and is commonly developed by people who have recently suffered a cold. The chronic form is known to often last longer than three weeks, and can even last up to eight weeks or longer and is usually seen in individuals suffering from asthma or severe allergies. Often a prescription of antibiotics can shorten the duration of a sinus infection.




“Sinus Infection Causes, Symptoms, Treatment – Sinus Infection Diagnosis on eMedicineHealth.” eMedicineHealth – experts in everyday emergencies, first aid and health information. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2011.


“Sinusitis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2011.

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