Return to Index
Talking to Your Doctor About Sinusitis
General Tips for Gathering Information
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- How can I tell if my symptoms are due to a cold, allergies, or sinusitis?
- Do I need to undergo any tests to definitively diagnose sinusitis?
- If I have sinusitis, am I contagious to other people?
- Do I have a higher risk of developing sinusitis if I smoke?
- Do any of my other medical conditions or medicines make me more susceptible to sinusitis?
- What can I do to avoid developing sinusitis while flying, swimming, or climbing in high altitudes?
- Do I need an antibiotic?
- Can I use a decongestant for comfort?
- Will an oral decongestant interact with any of the other medicines I take?
- Could a decongestant cause a problem with any of my other medical conditions?
- How long is it safe to use a nasal decongestant spray?
- If I have recurring sinusitis, at what point might you recommend surgery?
- Am I a candidate for functional endoscopic sinus surgery?
- What are its potential complications?
- Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that you recommend?
- Can you give me advice or referrals to programs to help me stop smoking?
- Are there any other lifestyle changes I can make to improve my immune system’s ability to fight off infection?
- How likely is it that my sinusitis will recur?
- What kinds of complications of sinusitis should I be on the lookout for?
Rakel RE, Bope ET. Conn’s Current Therapy. 54th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2002.
Sinus infection (sinusitis). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/sinusitis/Pages/Index.aspx. Accessed September 12, 2008.
Sinusitis. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org. Accessed September 12, 2008.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 08/2013
- Update Date: 08/30/2013