What is the difference between acute sinusitis and chronic sinusitis?

Sinusitis refers to inflammation or swelling of the tissues lining the sinuses. The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the skull that are connected to the nasal passages. Sinusitis can be acute or chronic, and the main difference between the two lies in the duration and persistence of symptoms.

  1. Acute Sinusitis:

    • Acute sinusitis is a short-term condition that typically lasts for a few days to a few weeks.
    • It often occurs as a result of a viral infection, such as the common cold, which can cause the sinuses to become inflamed.
    • Bacterial infections can also lead to acute sinusitis, and in such cases, antibiotics may be prescribed.
  2. Chronic Sinusitis:

    • Chronic sinusitis, on the other hand, persists for a longer duration, generally lasting for 12 weeks or more despite medical treatment.
    • It may result from ongoing inflammation, anatomical issues (such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum), or recurrent acute sinusitis episodes.
    • Chronic sinusitis can be more challenging to treat, and management often involves a combination of medications, nasal sprays, and sometimes surgery if other treatments are not effective.

Both acute and chronic sinusitis can share similar symptoms, which may include facial pain or pressure, nasal congestion, nasal discharge, and reduced sense of smell. However, chronic sinusitis is characterized by its persistent nature and the need for more extended treatment.

If you suspect you have sinusitis, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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