The runny nose that occurs during common colds, flu and seasonal allergies, can make life miserable. And yet there is good news: if your nose is running, you probably don’t have a sinus infection. If you have been treating your chronic sinus infections as you would a cold, allergies or flu, now you have a good reason why your treatments have not been effective. So how can you be sure that your chronic sinus infections are not allergies or some similar condition? That’s where SNOT comes in. And for those suffering from chronic sinus infections, SNOT may be the first step into finding much-needed relief.
What is Chronic Rhinosinusitis?
Chronic Rhinosinusitis Syndrome (CRS) is an infection of the nasal passages. With CRS, your nasal passages become inflamed and swollen; this makes it hard for your sinuses to drain which causes mucus to build up. With CRS breathing becomes difficult; CRS may also cause mucus or discharge to become thick and colorful. Most people who have CRS only wish their sinuses could drain, thereby relieving the intense pressure that causes headaches, tenderness and pain.
Causes of Chronic Rhinosinusitis
Unlike a cold or allergies, CRS can be recurrent, with bouts lasting sometimes weeks or months at a time. The causes vary per person – some people are born with chronic sinus issues that may be repaired by surgery; others may have a weakened immune system, severe allergies or infection. Environmental factors – swimming and rapid changes in air pressure for example – may bring about rhinosinusitis. Smoking (including second-hand smoke), asthma and COPD can also increase your risk of developing chronic rhinosinusitis.
SNOT – What’s in a Name
The Sino-Nasal Outcome Test – SNOT – is the diagnostic tool doctors use to determine if a person’s nasal discharge is caused by rhinosinusitis. The best part about SNOT is that it is neither invasive nor painful. In fact, SNOT is a brief questionnaire doctors use to determine the presence and severity of CRS. SNOT measures a number of factors, such as physical impairment, functional limitations, disability and societal limitations caused by chronic rhinosinusitis. The way patients respond to the test is subjective – meaning they determine the level of impact their CRS has on their healthy and daily activities. Doctors use SNOT’s findings to determine the best mode of treatment by establishing a reliable picture of one’s health status and quality of life. If the CRS is mild and occurs on occasion, your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan that may include medications and lifestyle changes. If the CRS is to the point that is has become debilitating, your doctor will devise a more aggressive treatment plan that may include surgical options.
Nasal and Sinus Care in Austin
Chronic sinusitis has a way of impacting every aspect of your life – from enjoying time being with your loved ones to finding peaceful sleep. If you are suffering from chronic sinusitis, the medical professionals at Nasal & Sinus Center of Austin can help. Whether it’s using an in-office balloon sinuplasty to fix sinus and nasal problems or minimally invasive endoscopic techniques, our goal is to ensure you live the happy, healthy, pain-free life you deserve. If you or someone you know has chronic sinusitis or any other nasal or sinus condition, call the Nasal & Sinus Center of Austin today at (512) 339-4040 or request an appointment online for either our Austin or Lakeway location.