Talking to Your Doctor About Sinusitis

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with sinusitis. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to give more details.
  • Write down your questions so do you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing.
  • Ask for help if you need it. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Sinusitis

  • How can I tell if my symptoms are due to a cold, allergies, or sinusitis?
  • Do I need any tests to diagnose sinusitis?
  • If I have sinusitis, am I contagious to other people?

About Your Risk of Getting Sinusitis

  • Do I have a higher risk of getting sinusitis if I smoke?
  • Do any of my other health conditions or medicines make me more apt to get sinusitis?
  • What can I do to avoid getting sinusitis while flying, swimming, or climbing in high altitudes?

About Treatment Options

  • What medicines will I need? How will they help me?
  • Can I use a decongestant for comfort?
  • Will an oral decongestant interact with any of my other medicines?
  • Could a decongestant cause a problem with any of my other health conditions?
  • How long is it safe to use a nasal decongestant spray?
  • Do I need sinus surgery?
  • What are possible problems from sinus surgery?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary treatments that you advise?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Can you help me stop smoking?
  • How can I improve my ability to fight infection?

About Your Outlook

  • How likely is my sinusitis to come back?
  • What complications of sinusitis should I watch for?


Acute rhinosinusitis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed November 15, 2021.
Sinusitis overview. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: Accessed November 15, 2021.
Tips for talking to your doctor. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: Accessed November 16, 2021.
Last reviewed November 2021 by Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 11/16/2021

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