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Dr. Gott: You’ve simply got a sinus infection

Tue., Dec. 29, 2009, midnight

DEAR DR. GOTT: My doctor says I have acute sinusitis. What is this?

DEAR READER: Acute sinusitis is just “doctorese” for a sinus infection. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, allergies, nasal growths, a deviated septum and more.

You likely developed a sinus infection following a cold. You probably have facial pain or tenderness, especially when pressure is applied, a thick nasal discharge that may be yellow or greenish, postnasal drip and nasal congestion.

You may benefit from taking over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers and by using a saline nasal spray. Antibiotics are not typically used unless the sinusitis is severe, persistent or recurrent. If the cause is anything other than bacterial infection, antibiotics will not be effective. Most cases resolve on their own within a week or so. In the interim, get plenty of rest, eat a healthful diet, and use over-the-counter medications only when necessary to reduce symptoms and carry out important daily tasks. To prevent spread, try to avoid contact with others until your side effects have subsided.

If you have questions, return to the physician who diagnosed you. He or she is your best resource and should have been your first choice for information regarding your diagnosis.

Contact Dr. Gott c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th fl., New York, NY 10016.

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