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Sinusitis is a very common problem, with about 37 million Americans having at least one episode a year. Many people with frequent or recurring sinus symptoms are treated with multiple antibiotics, but bacteria never caused their symptoms. It is important to determine the CAUSE of the sinusitis, and then treat appropriately.
Dryness, which comes with winter, heaters and Colorado’s climate, is a common cause of sinusitis. Sinus rinses or humidifiers often can improve symptoms. If sinusitis occurs in a particular season or time of year and is associated with itchy, scratchy eyes or itchy, sneezy nose, then allergies might be the cause. An allergist can help identify triggers and provide multiple treatment options to treat both allergies and recurrent sinusitis.
If allergies aren’t the cause, then we often think of a structural problem blocking the normal airflow of the sinuses. Nasal polyps, smaller nasal passages/sinus openings or a deviated septum are common, and can cause recurrent sinusitis. Usually a CT scan of the sinuses can identify these causes and, if present, an ENT specialist can determine if medical treatment or surgery are the best options.
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