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How is sinus infection treated ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
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I had a sore throat for 6 weeks and finally it went away. Though, I now get a constant humming noise and ears crackling whenever I swallow. The ears seems clogged like water logged. I also cough when taking a XXXXXXX breath and sometimes phlegm comes up. I am taking my second round of antibiotics. Saw an ENT yesterday and they said everything seems fine. I started taking zyrtec last week and has bloody nose. I just started claritan d. Is this a bad sinus infection? How do you properly treat it?
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Prasad 3 hours later

Thanks for your query.

The ear and throat are anatomically connected by a tube referred to as 'Eustachian tube'. It plays a role in regulating the pressure changes between the two structures. The tube is kept closed always; and opens up when there is a pressure difference across it. Swallowing and yawing are two circumstances that cause opening of the tube. In this context, if there is a collection in the ear ('middle ear'), one can hear crackling sound when the tube opens.

Humming noise ('tinnitus') and clogging sensation in the ear are again symptoms that reflect presence of a collection in the middle ear.

Collection in the middle ear is most often serous (non infective); described medically as "Serous Otitis media". Cough may have been incidental or part of this condition. Collection can soon turn infective, if there is a bacterial contamination. Else they usually resolve over a period of few days. Antibiotics are essential when bacterial infections are suspected. Clinician some time uses it as a preventing option especially if diabetes or history of recurrent infection is present.

Nose and throat problems are known to precede Otitis media. You may have developed this following nasal problem which you suffered earlier. Headache is a common feature of sinus infection. Since you do not report of headache, it isn't a sinus infection.

Hence the described symptoms are pointing toward Otitis media without bacterial contamination. You are in the right direction as far as treatment is concerned. ENT examination is a confirmation that you are recovering well. Continue the antibiotics as suggested.

Zyrtec, an antihistamine drug is again very useful in these conditions. Claritin D, antihistamine and nasal decongestant work similarly. You may use any one of these but not both. In addition, help yourself with steam inhalation three times a day for a few days. Mastication also helps in draining the fluid out of the ear - hence chewing a gum will also benefit you. You should be feeling better in a few days.

As a word of precaution, watch out for symptoms of fever, pus discharge from the ear, reduced hearing and or ear aches. You will have to get back to your ENT specialist if the aforementioned symptoms appear.

Hope I have discussed your problem adequately. If you have any more clarifications, I will be available to answer them as well.

Wish you faster recovery.

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