Frequently Asked Questions about Rhinosinusitis

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Should antibiotics be used to treat acute rhinosinusitis?

A high percentage of cases of acute rhinosinusitis do not need antibiotics as they are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are only indicated when the symptoms still persist after 10 days of treatment or if any complications arise.

Can you be infected with acute rhinosinusitis?

Rhinosinusitis is not infectious as such, but it is caused by a virus and the viral agent can be transmitted, which may or may not produce rhinosinusitis in somebody who comes into contact with it.

Is there a specific treatment for acute viral rhinosinusitis?

No; cases of acute rhinosinusitis should only be treated symptomatically.

If I have had acute rhinosinusitis in the past, am I more likely to develop chronic rhinosinusitis?

No; just one previous episode of acute rhinosinusitis does not increase the risk of developing chronic rhinosinusitis.

Is the treatment chronic?

In the case of chronic rhinosinusitis, patients must follow a course of maintenance treatment, but the preferred option will always be the lowest level of treatment that provides control over the symptoms.

Does surgery for rhinosinusitis leave external scars?

Endoscopic surgery for rhinosinusitis is performed inside the nose and does not leave any external scars.

Will I recover my sense of smell?

The loss of the sense of smell is the most common consequence and it cannot always be recovered, even with optimal medical treatment or surgery.

What is the probable cause of the symptoms?

The symptoms are mostly due to nasal obstruction caused by mucous discharge or polyps.

Are there any other causes of the symptoms?

If your symptoms are only on one side or accompanied by symptoms other than those described here, consult your specialist to determine if there is another cause.

What tests do I need to undergo?

Acute rhinosinusitis does not usually require other tests. In cases of chronic rhinosinusitis, an imaging study and endonasal examination are required.

Should I visit a specialist?

Whenever an episode of acute rhinosinusitis is not resolved by the medical treatment described above or in the case of chronic rhinosinusitis.

Can I use nasal corticosteroids on a permanent basis?

These medicines are very safe because they have a low absorption in blood and can even be administered to small children.

Can I use oral corticosteroids on a permanent basis?

Considering the high rate of side effects, the dose and duration must be limited whenever possible.

Whenever I have a cold I get rhinosinusitis – should I take antibiotics?

Acute rhinosinusitis is generally caused by a virus and therefore treatment is symptomatic and antibiotics are reserved solely for bacterial infections.

Substantiated information by:

Cristobal Langdon Montero

Published: 19 September 2018
Updated: 19 September 2018

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