Sinusitis: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions related to sinusitis:

Q: How do I know if I have a deviated septum?

A: Only a doctor’s examination can determine if you have a deviated septum. Most people have a slightly deviated septum. Most of the time, it does not aggravate symptoms enough to have it surgically corrected. However, if you suffer from chronic sinusitis, it is a good idea to find out if you have a deviated septum. If so, surgery such as endoscopic sinus surgery might permanently improve your breathing.

Q: Is air travel safe with sinusitis?

A: Even in pressurized airplane cabins, air pressure can cause problems for people with colds or sinus conditions. The resulting discomfort is typically felt during takeoff and landing and can become quite painful. It is most helpful to use decongestant nose drops before a flight. If the symptoms of sinusitis are severe, it is better to avoid flying altogether.Sometimes, a gentle massage of the area in front of and behind the ears, as well as the face, will relieve the feeling of fullness or sound of liquid in the ears. It is especially important to keep the nasal membranes moist, as airplane air tends to be very dry. The use of saline sprays while on the plane can help. In the absence of saline, simply moisten the inside of the nose with water.

Q: What about the breathing strips that athletes wear?

A: Some people find that nasal strips such as Breathe Right provide some relief. They look much like Band-Aids and are worn across the nose. The springing action in the strip can help to open up the nasal passages and improve breathing.

Q: My cheek is swollen. Could I have sinusitis?

A: Probably not. A dental infection is much more likely, and you should consult your dentist as the first course of action.

Q: People tell me I snore. Does this mean I have sinusitis?

A: Sinusitis sometimes contributes to a snoring problem. However, treatment for snoring often differs from treatment for sinusitis. It is best to consult a doctor for a thorough examination, diagnosis, and treatment plan.

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