Sinusitis and bronchitis take a significant toll on a persons ability to participate in everyday life and have a sizable economic impact, accounting for more than 30 million missed workdays each year, according to survey results released by Berrylin J. Ferguson, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.O.A., associate professor of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Both of these bacterial infections occur most frequently during the cold and flu season – November through January.
In a random survey of 606 self-identified recurrent chronic sinusitis or bronchitis sufferers, roughly one quarter (24.9 percent) reported missing three or more days of work and another 23 percent missed one to two days of work. Sinusitis and bronchitis sufferers were more likely to miss leisure activities (58 percent) than work as a result of their illness. Parents reported missing additional time from work to stay home with children who developed sinusitis or bronchitis. About 21 percent of parents missed one to two days of work to care for their children and an additional 20 percent missed three or more days. "This cold and flu season, we should be particularly vigilant of our health as the flu vaccine is in short supply," said Dr. Ferguson. "Increased prevalence of influenza may translate into an increase in bacterial infections, including sinusitis and bronchitis."
Dr. Ferguson said a person should see a doctor if he or she experiences symptoms of bacterial sinusitis, such as nasal congestion or yellow nasal discharge, with facial pain or pressure that worsen after four days or persist beyond seven days. Symptoms experienced for fewer days are more likely due to a viral illness such as a cold. Bronchitis symptoms to be aware of include shortness of breath, chest pain and chronic cough accompanied by phlegm or mucus 24 to 48 hours following the cough. A persistent phlegm-producing cough that lasts more than three months may be chronic bronchitis.
Jocelyn Uhl | EurekAlert!
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