Did you know that not all sinus infections are alike? Even people who have struggled with recurring sinus infections may find that they are caused by any of a variety of sinus irritants. When it comes to diagnosing different types of sinus infections and sinusitis, you need the help of a professional to determine why your sinuses are infected and how to stop it from happening.
Types of Sinus Infections
First of all, it is important to know that not all cases of sinusitis are indicative of a sinus infection. While the two share many similar symptoms, they are not exactly the same. Sinus infection types include:
- Acute Sinus Infections: Typically lasting one to two weeks, but sometimes lingering as long as four weeks, acute sinus infections are characterized by rapid onset. However, once they are gone, the patient does not continue to experience symptoms. These are usually caused by bacteria entering the sinuses.
- Subacute Sinus Infections: Generally last between one and three months, but also do not show any signs of ongoing symptoms once the infection has passed.
- Chronic Sinus Infections: Any sinus infection lasting more than three months, which may get better or worse from time to time. However, patients report ongoing symptoms in between flare-ups.
Types of Sinusitis
In addition to the above classifications, sinusitis may be categorized by the type of infection and inflammation experienced:
- Recurrent Sinusitis: Refers to anyone who suffers more than four sinus infections per year. This is often seen among acute sinus infection patients who go several months without any symptoms between month-long bouts of infection.
- Infected Sinusitis: Usually caused by a viral infection, which may be treated using medications. However, if the treatment course does not fully eliminate the virus, the situation may worsen over time. In addition, certain fungal infections fall into this category.
- Non-Infectious Sinusitis: This is caused by environmental factors such as smoking, pollen, pet dander or poor air quality. Since it is not caused by any particular virus or bacteria, it cannot be treated easily with medication.
American Sinus Institute
The American Sinus Institutes in Houston and San Antonio are equipped to diagnose and treat any of the above sinus infections ranging from acute episodes to chronic cases. You can make an appointment with your Houston sinus doctor today, or contact our sinus doctors in San Antonio to learn more about treatment options.