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When To Call a Doctor
Call your doctor if sinusitis does not improve after 2 days of home treatment and you have symptoms such as:
If you are not sure whether you have a cold or a sinus infection, see the topic Facial Problems, Noninjury.
Watchful waiting is appropriate if you have symptoms of an early sinus infection (such as pain and pressure in your head along with a stuffy or runny nose). An early sinus infection can often be treated at home if you are in good health. If you develop symptoms of a sinus infection, start home treatment, such as drinking lots of fluids and breathing steam from a warm shower, and use the guidelines above to decide whether you need to call a doctor.
Who to see
Sinusitis may be diagnosed by any of the following health professionals:
Your doctor may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist (also called an otolaryngologist) who can provide a more specialized examination of the nasal passages and upper throat. Referral to an ENT specialist may be beneficial for people in whom nasal polyps or other conditions causing blockage of the nasal cavity are suspected. Diagnosis and surgical treatment of chronic or complicated cases of sinusitis may be done by an ENT specialist.
An infectious disease specialist may be needed when sinusitis is caused by something unusual or when rare complications (such as an infection of the facial bones) occur. An allergist may be needed when allergies are suspected to be causing or contributing to sinus problems.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
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