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 Are Sinus Infections Treated?
Sinus infections are treated in graduating steps. The first method of treatment is the home remedy. Patients should drink plenty of liquids to help thin the mucous and stay hydrated. Tylenol or Advil can be used to relieve the pain and pressure in the head. Saltwater irrigation such as a Neti-pot can help flush out the nostrils and sinuses. At this point, a patient may advance to some of the over-the-counter medications sold at local retailers. They mainly just treat the symptoms. A visit to a physician for antibiotics is often necessary when the other steps fail. The doctor may recommend doing some of the above mentioned remedies in conjunction with the prescription medicine.
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.