Having Trouble Tasting and Smelling? This Could Be a Sign of Sinusitis

Did you recently notice that Sunday dinner didn’t have quite the same appeal? Your appetite was fine, but perhaps the house didn’t seem filled with the appealing aroma, and the food didn’t taste as delicious as usual, either.

Relax, it’s probably not a sudden loss of cooking skills. You may simply have sinusitis, and it’s affecting your senses of smell and taste.

You’re likely most familiar with sinusitis in its acute form when the major symptoms of the common cold drag on or worsen beyond seven to ten days. Certainly, if you knew you had a cold during Sunday dinner, you might expect impairment of smell and taste.

However, sinusitis can also be chronic, so instead of the usual 10-day tissue fest accompanying your cold, you could be experiencing a low-level version of the condition. You might feel some stuffiness, but the effects on your smell and taste could be noticeable.

The differences between acute and chronic sinusitis

Sinusitis refers to an inflammation of the sinuses. As with other medical conditions, “acute” refers to a sudden or short-term issue, and “chronic” describes a persistent and long-lasting ailment. The connection between acute sinusitis and the common cold is so strong that they’re usually thought of as parts a single illness.

However, in its chronic form, sinusitis may outlast the lifespan of the cold virus in your body. The symptoms are the same between the acute and chronic versions of sinusitis, though it’s possible they’re not as severe for the chronic sufferer. This is how smell and taste may seem to vanish for no reason.

Diagnosing chronic sinusitis

Four conditions are associated with chronic sinusitis, and you will have two or more of these when your ENT specialist at Lawrence Otolaryngology makes that diagnosis. These conditions are:

In addition, these conditions will last longer than 12 weeks and will likely resist conservative treatments. You may also experience other symptoms in addition to the “big four.” These can include:

Generally, chronic sinusitis is not accompanied by fever, though it’s normal during acute sinusitis.

When to seek treatment for sinusitis

You probably don’t need to see a doctor for acute sinusitis accompanying a cold unless symptoms further worsen, or if a fever doesn’t pass. Typically, symptoms resolve in 7-10 days.

Seek treatment for chronic sinusitis if you’ve experienced it several times or if your sinus symptoms last longer than seven days without sign of improvement. If you’ve already sought treatment and there’s no sign of improvement, it’s also time for another appointment.

Medical care becomes urgent for chronic sinusitis if you experience:

Both the symptoms and underlying causes of chronic sinusitis are treatable, so don’t endure the discomfort. Call or click online today to see a specialist at Lawrence Otolaryngology, with three locations for your convenience.

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