EAR, NOSE, & THROAT SPECIALISTS

3530 Atlantic Avenue Suite 108

Long Beach, CA 90807

(562) 988-8818

Sinusitis

Sinusitis in Long Beach, CA Insight into sinus problems in adults and children

  • How are sinusitis symptoms different than a cold or allergy?
  • When does acute sinusitis become chronic?
  • What treatments are available?

Have you ever had a cold or allergy attack that wouldn't go away? If so, there's a good chance you actually had sinusitis. Experts estimate that 37 million people are afflicted with sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health conditions in America. That number may be significantly higher, since the symptoms of bacterial sinusitis often mimic those of colds or allergies, and many sufferers never see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What is sinusitis?

Acute bacterial sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavities caused by bacteria. It usually is preceded by a cold, allergy attack, or irritation by environmental pollutants. Unlike a cold, or allergy, bacterial sinusitis requires a physician's diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to cure the infection and prevent future complications.

Normally, mucus collecting in the sinuses drains into the nasal passages. When you have a cold or allergy attack, your sinuses become inflamed and are unable to drain. This can lead to congestion and infection. Your doctor will diagnosis acute sinusitis if you have up to 4 weeks of purulent nasal drainage accompanied by nasal obstruction, facial pain-pressure-fullness, or both. The sinus infection is likely bacterial if it persists for 10 days or longer, or if the symptoms worsen after an initial improvement.

When does acute sinusitis become chronic?

When you have frequent sinusitis, or the infection lasts three months or more, it could be chronic sinusitis. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may be less severe than those of acute; however, untreated chronic sinusitis can cause damage to the sinuses and cheekbones that sometimes requires surgery to repair.

What treatments are available?

Antibiotic therapy - Therapy for bacterial sinusitis may include an appropriate antibiotic. If you have three or more symptoms of sinusitis (see chart), be sure to see your doctor for diagnosis. An oral or nasal spray or drop decongestant may be recommended to relieve congestion, although you should avoid prolonged use of nonprescription nasal sprays or drops. Inhaling steam or using saline nasal sprays or drops can help relieve sinus discomfort.

Antibiotic resistance means that some infection-causing bacteria are immune to the effects of certain antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. Antibiotic resistance is making even common infections, such as sinusitis, challenging to treat. You can help prevent antibiotic resistance. One way is to wait up to 7 days before taking antibiotics for mild sinus infections, allowing time for your body to fight the infection naturally. If the doctor prescribes an antibiotic, it is important that you take all of the medication just as your doctor instructs, even if your symptoms are gone before the medicine runs out.

Intensive antibiotic therapy - If your doctor thinks you have chronic sinusitis, intensive antibiotic therapy may be prescribed. Surgery is sometimes necessary to remove physical obstructions that may contribute to sinusitis.

Sinus surgery - Surgery should be considered only if medical treatment fails or if there is a nasal obstruction that cannot be corrected with medications. The type of surgery is chosen to best suit the patient and the disease. Surgery can be performed under the upper lip, behind the eyebrow, next to the nose or scalp, or inside the nose itself.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is recommended for certain types of sinus disease. With the endoscope, the surgeon can look directly into the nose, while at the same time, removing diseased tissue and polyps and clearing the narrow channels between the sinuses. The decision whether to use local or general anesthesia will be made between you and your doctor, depending on your individual circumstances.

Before surgery, be sure that you have realistic expectations for the results, recovery, and postoperative care. Good results require not only good surgical techniques, but a cooperative effort between the patient and physician throughout the healing process. It is equally important for patients to follow pre- and postoperative instructions.

When should a doctor be consulted?

Because the symptoms of sinusitis sometimes mimic those of colds and allergies, you may not realize you need to see a doctor. If you suspect you have sinusitis, review these signs and symptoms. If you suffer from three or more, you should see your doctor.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis vs. a cold or allergy?

SIGN/ SYMPTOM SINUSITIS ALLERGY COLD
Facial Pressure /Pain Yes Sometimes Sometimes
Duration of Illness Over 10-14 days Varies Under 10 days
Nasal Discharge Whitish or colored Clear, thin, watery Thick, whitish or thin
Fever Sometimes No Sometimes
Headache Often Sometimes Sometimes
Pain in Upper Teeth Sometimes No No
Bad Breath Sometimes No No
Coughing Sometimes Sometimes Yes
Nasal Congestion Yes Sometimes Yes
Sneezing No Sometimes Yes

Can children suffer from sinus infections?

Your child's sinuses are not fully developed until age 20. However, children can still suffer from sinus infection. Although small, the maxillary (behind the cheek) and ethmoid (between the eyes) sinuses are present at birth. Sinusitis is difficult to diagnose in children because respiratory infections are more frequent, and symptoms can be subtle. Unlike a cold or allergy, bacterial sinusitis requires a physician's diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to prevent future complications.

The following symptoms may indicate a sinus infection in your child:

  • A "cold" lasting more than 10 to 14 days, sometimes with low-grade fever
  • Thick yellow-green nasal drainage
  • Post-nasal drip, sometimes leading to or exhibited as sore throat, cough, bad breath, nausea and/or vomiting
  • Headache, usually not before age 6
  • Irritability or fatigue
  • Swelling around the eyes

If despite appropriate medical therapy these symptoms persist, care should be taken to seek an underlying cause. The role of allergy and frequent upper respiratory infections should be considered.

Tips to prevent sinusitis

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To avoid developing sinusitis during a cold or allergy attack, keep your sinuses clear by:

  • Using an oral decongestant or a short course of nasal spray decongestant
  • Gently blowing your nose, blocking one nostril while blowing through the other
  • Drinking plenty of fluids to keep nasal discharge thin
  • Avoiding air travel. If you must fly, use a nasal spray decongestant before take-off to prevent blockage of the sinuses, allowing mucus to drain
  • If you have allergies, try to avoid contact with things that trigger attacks. If you cannot, use over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines and/or a prescription nasal spray to control allergy attacks.

Allergy testing, followed by appropriate allergy treatments, may increase your tolerance of allergy-causing substances. If you believe you may have sinusitis, see our tips for sinusitis sufferers.

Think you might be suffering from sinusitis? Call our Long Beach, CA office at (562) 988-8818 to schedule an appointment.

THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.

PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY. THE PRIVACY OF YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT TO US.

Our Legal Duty
We are required by applicable federal and state laws to maintain the privacy of your protected health information. We are also required to give you this notice about our privacy practices, our legal duties, and your rights concerning your protected health information. We must follow the privacy practices that are described in this notice while it is in effect. This notice takes effect April 14, 2003, and will remain in effect until we replace it.

We reserve the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of this notice at any time provided that such changes are permitted by applicable law. We reserve the right to make the changes in our privacy practices and the new terms of our notice effective for all protected health information that we maintain, including medical information we created or received before we made the changes.

You may request a copy of our notice (or any subsequent revised notice) at any time. For more information about our privacy practices, or for additional copies of this notice, please contact us using the information listed at the end of this notice.

Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information
We will use and disclose your protected health information about you for treatment, payment, and health care operations. Following are examples of the types of uses and disclosures of your protected health care information that may occur. These examples are not meant to be exhaustive, but to describe the types of uses and disclosures that may be made by our office.

Treatment: We will use and disclose your protected health information to provide, coordinate or manage your healthcare and any related services. This includes the coordination or management of your health care with a third party. For example, we would disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to a home health agency that provides care to you. We will also disclose protected health information to other physicians who may be treating you. For example, your protected health information may be provided to a physician to whom you have been referred to ensure that the physician has the necessary information to diagnose or treat you.

In addition, we may disclose your protected health information from time to time to another physician or health care provider (e.g., a specialist or laboratory)who, at the request of your physician, becomes involved in your care by providing assistance with your health care diagnosis or treatment to your physician.

Payment: Your protected health information will be used, as needed, to obtain payment for your health care services. This may include certain activities that your health insurance plan may undertake before it approves or pays for the health care services we recommend for you, such as: making a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, reviewing services provided to you for protected health necessity, and undertaking utilization review activities. For example, obtaining approval for a hospital stay may require that your relevant protected health information be disclosed to the health plan to obtain approval for the hospital admission.

Health Care Operations: We may use or disclose, as needed, your protected health information in order to conduct certain business and operational activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, training of students, licensing, and conducting or arranging for other business activities.

For example, we may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk where you will be asked to sign your name. We may also call you by name in the waiting room when your doctor is ready to see you. We may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to contact you by telephone or mail to remind you of your appointment.

We will share your protected health information with third-party "business associates" that perform various activities (e.g., billing, transcription services) for the practice. Whenever an arrangement between our office and a business associate involves the use or disclosure of your protected health information, we will have a written contract that contains terms that will protect the privacy of your protected health information.

We may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to provide you with information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. We may also use and disclose your protected health information for other marketing activities. For example, your name and address may be used to send you a newsletter about our practice and the services we offer. We may also send you information about products or services that we believe may be beneficial to you. You may contact us to request that these materials not be sent to you.

Uses and Disclosures Based On Your Written Authorization: Other uses and disclosures of your protected health information will be made only with your authorization unless otherwise permitted or required by law as described below.

You may give us written authorization to use your protected health information or to disclose it to anyone for any purpose. If you give us authorization, you may revoke it in writing at any time. Your revocation will not affect any use or disclosures permitted by your authorization while it was in effect. Without your written authorization, we will not disclose your health care information except as described in this notice.

Others Involved in Your Health Care: Unless you object, we may disclose to a member of your family, a relative, a close friend or any other person you identify, your protected health information that directly relates to that person's involvement in your health care. If you are unable to agree or object to such a disclosure, we may disclose such information as necessary if we determine that it is in your best interest based on our professional judgment. We may use or disclose protected health information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or any other person that is responsible for the care of your location, general condition or death.

Marketing: We may use your protected health information to contact you with information about treatment alternatives that may be of interest to you. We may disclose your protected health information to a business associate to assist us in these activities. Unless the information is provided to you by a general newsletter or in person or is for products or services of nominal value, you may opt-out of receiving further such information by telling us using the contact information listed at the end of this notice.

Research; Death; Organ Donation: We may use or disclose your protected health information for research purposes in limited circumstances. We may disclose the protected health information of a deceased person to a coroner, protected health examiner, funeral director or organ procurement organization for certain purposes.

Public Health and Safety: We may disclose your protected health information to the extent necessary to avert a serious and imminent threat to your health or safety or the health or safety of others. We may disclose your protected health information to a government agency authorized to oversee the health care system or government programs or its contractors, and to public health authorities for public health purposes.

Health Oversight: We may disclose protected health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections. Oversight agencies seeking this information include government agencies that oversee the health care system, government benefit programs, other government regulatory programs, and civil rights laws.

Abuse or Neglect: We may disclose your protected health information to a public health authority that is authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect. In addition, we may disclose your protected health information if we believe that you have been a victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence to the governmental entity or agency authorized to receive such information. In this case, the disclosure will be made consistent with the requirements of applicable federal and state laws.

Food and Drug Administration: We may disclose your protected health information to a person or company required by the Food and Drug Administration to report adverse events, product defects or problems, biologic product deviations; to track products; to enable product recalls; to make repairs or replacements; or to conduct post-marketing surveillance, as required.

Criminal Activity: Consistent with applicable federal and state laws, we may disclose your protected health information, if we believe that the use or disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public. We may also disclose protected health information if it is necessary for law enforcement authorities to identify or apprehend an individual.

Required by Law: We may use or disclose your protected health information when we are required to do so by law. For example, we must disclose your protected health information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services upon request for purposes of determining whether we are in compliance with federal privacy laws. We may disclose your protected health information when authorized by workers' compensation or similar laws.

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Law Enforcement: We may disclose limited information to a law enforcement official concerning the protected health information of a suspect, fugitive, material witness, crime victim, or missing person. We may disclose the protected health information of an inmate or other person in lawful custody to a law enforcement official or correctional institution under certain circumstances. We may disclose protected health information where necessary to assist law enforcement officials to capture an individual who has admitted to participation in a crime or has escaped from lawful custody.

Patient Rights
Access: You have the right to look at or get copies of your protected health information, with limited exceptions. You must make a request in writing to the contact person listed herein to obtain access to your protected health information. You may also request access by sending us a letter to the address at the end of this notice. If you request copies, we will charge you $25.00 for each page or$10.00 per hour to locate and copy your protected health information, and postage if you want the copies mailed to you. If you prefer, we will prepare a summary or an explanation of your protected health information for a fee. Contact us using the information listed at the end of this notice for a full explanation of our fee structure.

Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to receive a list of instances in which we or our business associates disclosed your protected health information for purposes other than treatment, payment, health care operations, and certain other activities after April 14, 2003. After April 14, 2009, the accounting will be provided for the past six(6) years. We will provide you with the date on which we made the disclosure, the name of the person or entity to whom we disclosed your protected health information, a description of the protected health information we disclosed, the reason for the disclosure, and certain other information. If you request this list more than once in a 12-month period, we may charge you a reasonable, cost-based fee for responding to these additional requests. Contact us using the information listed at the end of this notice for a full explanation of our fee structure.

Restriction Requests: You have the right to request that we place additional restrictions on our use or disclosure of your protected health information. We are not required to agree to these additional restrictions, but if we do, wewill abide by our agreement (except in an emergency). Any agreement we may make to a request for additional restrictions must be in writing signed by a person authorized to make such an agreement on our behalf. We will not be bound unless our agreement is so memorialized in writing.

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Electronic Notice: If you receive this notice on our website or by electronic mail (e-mail), you are entitled to receive this notice in written form. Please contact us using the information listed at the end of this notice to obtain this notice in written form.

Questions and Complaints
If you want more information about our privacy practices or have questions or concerns, please contact us using the information below. If you believe that we may have violated your privacy rights, or you disagree with a decision we made about access to your protected health information or in response to a request you made, you may complain to us using the contact information below. You also may submit a written complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We will provide you with the address to file your complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services upon request.

We support your right to protect the privacy of your protected health information. We will not retaliate in any way if you choose to file a complaint with us or with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Name of Contact Person: Jesse Tan MD
Telephone: (562) 988-8818
Address: 3530 ATLANTIC AVENUE, SUITE 108
ONG BEACH, CA
90807