July 4th weekend I had the same symptoms as now, but did not see a doctor. I had 2 days of bad sinus headaches. Then 2 days of severe chest pain. It hurt on right side above breast and thru sholder blade. I saw a doctor and he did a chest x-ray. He said I had a touch of bronchitis.(I don't have a runny nose or other cold symptoms-a tiny cough). After taking 2 days of antibotics, pain went away. I was very tired. I returned to work on day 4 of antibotics. On day 5, chest pain came back(not as bad and only in chest). I have never been allergic to anything, but mom is. I have a deviated septum and "no frontal sinus". I take a decongestant almost daily because I can't breath thru nose well. My 15 yr. old daughter has same sinus problem. I am 33 and have never smoked. Father smokes bad! After being around smokers, I will get a cold. In July, I was around a lot of smoke. This time I was only a little(like walking thru a room with someone smoking) In June, my work moved to a rural area with lots of trees, etc. We have a temp office in a garage of a home. I don't know if this is part of problem. How do I tell if I have acquired allergies or this is a more serious problem? What type of doctor should I see? I won't have insurance for another month or so.
An allergist would be the type of doctor to thoroughly examine you and arrange for testing to know if you have acquired allergies. It is possible that your symptoms are related to allergies. However it is also possible that your symptoms have nothing to do with allergies.
Bronchitis is swelling and inflammation in the airways of the lungs. Symptoms can include cough with mucus, chest discomfort, fever, and/or extreme tiredness. It is often caused by an infection, which can be due to bacteria or a virus. A pulmonologist would be the type of specialist to identify if a lung problem is causing your symptoms and the best treatment.
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the sinus cavities. Inflammation of the sinuses could be due to an allergy, an infection, or ongoing exposure to an irritant, such as pollution or smoke. Cigarette smoke is not an allergen, but it is definitely an irritant. Symptoms can include a headache or pressure in the area of the sinuses, a stuffy nose, achy teeth, an odor coming from the nose, postnasal drip, cough, sore throat, laryngitis, lightheadedness, constant low fever, and thick, yellow to green nasal drainage. This inflammation can block sinus drainage and cause increased mucus production. The mucus can drain from the nose and sinuses down the back of the throat causing a constant or intermittent postnasal drip and sore throat.
The nasal septum is a plate of bone and cartilage along the center of the nose. A deviated nasal septum is shifted to one side. When your septum is deviated there is less space on the side that the septum leans towards. Generally this area is squeezed. A deviated nasal septum may cause blockage of the sinuses on that side to the point that the sinuses do not drain as well. This can cause swelling of the nasal and sinus passages. As the sinuses become swollen, the drainage openings that lead from each sinus into the nose become blocked. Both the swelling and the mucus that collects in the sealed-off sinus can cause pressure. This is a possible explanation of your bad sinus headaches. Surgery would return the septum to its usual position in the center of the nose. This is generally helpful in clearing the blockage and decreasing sinus infections.
The best way to identify a sinus infection is with a sinus CT scan, although sinus x-rays are a decent alternative. A sinus CT scan will also identify if any of the openings that drain your sinuses are blocked. If your symptoms are due to sinusitis, they will last as long as the inflammation continues. Please read our Sinusitis MedFact at http://www.nationaljewish.org/medfacts/sin.html for more information about some ways to clear up the inflammation. Please check with your doctor to see which of these would work best for you. Usually sinus surgery is considered when these techniques have not been helpful. An ENT would be the type of specialist to do sinus surgery.
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