Sinusitis

Sarah K.  Vakkalanka, MD -  - Otolaryngologist

Pacifica ENT

Sarah K. Vakkalanka, MD

Otolaryngologist located in Orange County, Huntington Beach, CA

Sinusitis Specialist
With a specialization in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, one of the most common problems Dr. Sarah Vakkalanka with Pacifica ENT in Huntington Beach and Orange County, California, faces is sinus issues like chronic sinusitis. A number of treatment options can help alleviate sinus conditions including getting regular sinus care to avoid complications that lead to infection.

Sinusitis Q & A

by Sarah K. Vakkalanka, MD

Why do sinuses become blocked?

Your sinuses are air-filled spaces around your nose and eyes that reduce the density of your facial bones and improve the resonance of your voice, among other things. Your sinuses tend to get blocked easily. When that happens, mucus can’t escape the passages, leaving you prone to infection and breathing problems. You may also experience headaches, a sore throat or coughing, or even a fever.

What causes sinusitis?

Causes vary but something as basic as a cold can leave you with blocked sinus cavities. Some other common causes include:

  • Nasal polyps
  • A deviated nasal septum
  • A chronic medical condition such as gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Allergies


Your risk for sinus problems increases if you have asthma or another allergic condition.

How is sinusitis diagnosed?

There are a couple diagnostic approaches for both acute and chronic sinusitis. A simple peak inside the nose can show swelling, for example. In some cases, Dr. Vakkalanka may order imaging to get a detailed view of the passageway and cavity. Cultures can help identify an infection that requires treatment.

What is involved in sinus care?

The goal of a sinus care plan is to eliminate the underlying cause of sinusitis. For some people, that means teaching and managing self-care habits such as:

  • Moisturizing the sinus cavities with vapor
  • Rinsing out the sinus cavities using saline or nasal lavage
  • Controlling allergies


Dr. Vakkalanka may provide in-office nasal irrigation. This reduces the drainage and helps flush out irritants. Many patients benefit from the therapeutic use of nasal corticosteroids to reduce and prevent inflammation that blocks the cavities. In severe cases, Dr. Vakkalanka may inject a corticosteroid directly into the passage. Patients who suffer from allergies may get relief via immunotherapy to reduce the body’s reactions to airborne allergens that contribute to sinus inflammation.

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