What to Know About Sinus Infections

December 15, 2022

Dr. Jerry Williams of Urgent Care 24/7 discusses a really common problem, sinusitis.

It's amazing how many people we see in our Urgent Care 247, urgent care centers nationally who don't understand this illness. Dr. Williams thinks that sinusitis, especially chronic sinusitis, is such a common problem because it's poorly understood, it can be very difficult to treat, but if you treat it right, treat it quickly and treat it thoroughly, overwhelmingly, sinusitis resolves, meaning you get a complete cure.

So, let's talk a little bit about the sinuses and the anatomy of the sinuses. First of all, the sinuses are about total volume of your fist, and they're in your forehead and on either side of your near of your nose and back behind that are additional sinuses. These are hollow cavities that moisten and warm the air that you breathe in through your nose through your nerese through your nostrils.

What the problem is when you get infection in the sinuses in these cavities, there's no blood vessels in the center of those cavities. So when you take an antibiotic, the antibiotic goes through the bloodstream to the exterior of your sinuses, because they're highly vascular, but not into the center of the air cavity space where there can be infection. So you can't get antibiotics to the in the center of the infected sinus, and that's the problem. So it's kind of like an abscess. When a patient has an abscess, the first thing we do is drain the abscess, then we give him antibiotics. If you don't drain the abscess, you're not going to achieve a cure because again, there are no blood vessels in the center of a cavitated abscess. So it's critically important that you drain the sinuses. Now, the problem with the sinuses is they're bony and they're inside your face. So they're very difficult to assess.

Although ear nose and throat physicians can use scopes and can fiber optic scopes and can go in and suction out the sinuses and help clean and irrigate them. But the key is what Dr. Willaims just mentioned, is irrigation. We emphasize self irrigation of the sinuses. Where these patients who present with sinusitis would get them on an antibiotic, we give them steroids, but we also greatly encourage them doing sinus irrigation and not just nasal spray or just saline nasal spray. We actually encourage them to use a buffered distilled water saline that they can make up and use. The preferred method is the Nealmed sinus rinse bottle, not a neti pot.

You take that Nealmed sinus rinse spa and you irrigate out the sinuses thoroughly. What we found is that in patients who utilize that sinus irrigation two or three times a day, along with their antibiotics, their sinusitis resolves much more quickly. We almost never have those patients return with a chronic sinusitis or relapse of sinusitis. In fact, Dr. Williams encourages patients who like to garden a lot to go out the yard mowed grass, bone leaves, that kind of thing. Especially during heavy pollen periods during the spring to use that Neil bedside instruments bottle and to rinse out their sinuses. You can actually prevent sinus infections by keeping that rinsed out and keeping it clean. It's been very effective for Dr. Williams.

So again, sinusitis is a common problem, but uncommonly understood, in fact, frequently misunderstood. If you've got sinusitis don't mess around with it, go see your primary care practitioner as quickly as possible and get definitive treatment. But remember, the antibiotics are important, the steroids are important, but the sinus irrigation is critically important to wash out and keep the sinuses clean so you can get a full treatment of the infection of the sinuses.

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