Sinusitis Specialist

Christina M. McAlpin, MD

Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor located in Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

When your sinuses are blocked or inflamed, you may be in pain, have trouble breathing, and experience other symptoms that lower your quality of life. If you’re one of 37 million Americans with sinusitis, expert ENT specialist and surgeon Christina M. McAlpin, MD, can help you find relief. Dr. McAlpin treats residents of the Los Angeles area who have acute, chronic, or recurrent sinusitis. Call Dr. McAlpin’s helpful team to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online.

Sinusitis Q&A

by Christina M. McAlpin, MD

What are sinuses?

Your sinuses are air-filled pockets in the bones of your face and skull, in and around your nose. Sinuses produce mucus that moisturizes the interior of your nose and protects it from pollution, dust, dirt, bacteria, and other microorganisms.

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an inflammation and blockage of your sinuses, often accompanied by a bacterial or fungal infection. Both children and adults can get sinusitis.

Some sinusitis symptoms include:

  • Pain or pressure in your face
  • Stuffed, blocked, or runny nose
  • Coughing or congestion
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dental pain


The different types of sinusitis are:

  • Acute: two or more symptoms that start suddenly and last two to four weeks (may have thick, green, or yellow nasal discharge)
  • Subacute: lasts four to 12 weeks
  • Chronic: lasts 12 weeks or more
  • Recurrent: occurs several times per year

What are the risk factors for sinusitis?

You’re more likely to get sinusitis if you have:

  • Nasal swelling from a cold
  • Blocked nasal drainage ducts
  • Narrow sinuses, including deviated septum or other structural abnormalities
  • Nasal polyps (benign growths in nose)
  • Compromised immune system (from diseases or medication)


Children can also develop sinusitis from:

  • Allergies
  • Using a pacifier
  • Drinking from a bottle while lying down
  • Environmental smoke (secondhand smoke)
  • Being exposed to other children who are ill at daycare or school

How is sinusitis treated?

If your sinusitis is uncomplicated, Dr. McAlpin may recommend salt-water nasal flushes and an over-the-counter decongestant. Warm compresses also alleviate pain and discomfort.

Don’t use a decongestant for more than three days because it may worsen your condition. If your symptoms persist, contact Dr. McAlpin for follow-up treatment.

Depending on what caused your sinusitis and how severe it is, Dr. McAlpin may also prescribe:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Antifungals for fungal infections
  • Antihistamines if allergies are contributing to your symptoms
  • Steroids to control inflammation
  • Immunoglobulin if you have a compromised immune system
  • Balloon sinuplasty (simple surgery to open your sinuses) for recurrent or chronic sinusitis


Rarely, untreated sinusitis develops into meningitis, which is a severe inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Rarely, untreated sinusitis can also lead to a brain abscess or bone infection.


If you or your child have the signs or symptoms of sinusitis, contact ENT specialist Dr. McAlpin. Use the online form or call her friendly staff to make an appointment.