What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is also known as a sinus infection, which is also usually followed by a cold that can cause pain and pressure in the head and face areas.
What Causes Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is caused when the lining of the sinus cavity gets inflamed from a viral infection. There are three different causes of Sinusitis, they are:
Most cases of Sinusitis are caused by the same virus that causes the common cold. If the inflammation of sinus cavity doesn’t go away and worsens, the swelling can then block the normal drainage from the sinuses into the nose and throat. If there then becomes fluid buildup, over time bacteria or fungi, can start to grow. Bacterial or fungal infections can cause more swelling and sinus pain. If it goes untreated it can last longer, get worse with time, and then become chronic.
Another cause of Sinusitis is when allergies block the nasal passages and allow for fluid build-up.
What are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?
The main symptoms of Sinusitis are a runny/stuffy nose or pain/pressure in your head and face. There could also be a yellow or green postnasal discharge. Other common symptoms of Sinusitis could include:
- Bad Breath
- A cough that Produces Mucus
- Pain in Your Teeth
- Reduce Sense of Taste or Smell
How Will the Doctor Diagnose Sinusitis?
To diagnose Sinusitis, a doctor will look inside your nose or will feel tenderness in your nose and face. Other ways for diagnostics include:
- Nasal Endoscopy – A thin tube with a fiber optic light that is inserted through your nose which will allow a doctor to see inside your sinuses. Also known as a rhinoscopy.
- Imaging – Using an MRI or CT scan can show details of your sinuses. These medical images can pinpoint any deep inflammation or obstructions that can be difficult to detect with a nasal endoscopy.
- Nasal and Sinus Cultures – If chronic sinusitis fails to respond to treatment or is worsening, tissue cultures can determine that cause and if it could be bacterial or fungi issues.
- Allergy Test – If there is a possibility that the condition may be triggered by allergies your doctor may recommend an allergy skin test.
How is Sinusitis Treated?
When you have a virus sinus infection it can usually go away within 10-14 days. Antibiotics don’t usually help a viral infection, but there are home remedies that you can do to help relieve the symptoms:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Use a hot damp towel on for face for 5-10 minutes at a time, a few times a day.
- Breathe the warm, moist air from a steamy shower, this can clear the nasal passages.
- Get saline nose drops or spray. These can keep the nasal passages moist and help keep them open while washing out mucus and bacteria.
- Over-the-counter sinus medication to relieve the pressure in your head and face.
With home remedies, it will help flush the mucus out of your sinuses and help prevent a more serious case of sinusitis like a bacterial or fungal infection.
If you end up getting a bacterial infection this can be treated with antibiotics. This can help the symptoms within a few days but some of the symptoms can last up to several weeks. If you have chronic sinusitis you will need to take your antibiotics for a longer period.
If you get a fungal infection, which is a very rear case, antibiotics won’t help your sinusitis. This type of infection can be treated in one of the following ways, with an antifungal medication, steroid medication, and even surgery depending on how severe the case is.
What are the Types of Sinusitis?
There are four main types of sinusitis, these include:
Acute sinusitis – This will, in most cases, start with cold-like symptoms. It can start suddenly and could last up to 2-4 weeks.
Subacute Sinusitis – This is when the symptoms cause inflammation of the sinuses and can last up to 4-12 weeks.
Chronic Sinusitis – This is also an inflammation of the sinuses but can last up to 12 weeks or longer
Recurrent Sinusitis – This is when a patient gets sinusitis several times a year.
What Happens if Sinusitis Isn’t Treated?
If sinusitis isn’t treated and hasn’t cleared up naturally, then it could lead to meningitis, a brain abscess, or even an infection of the bone.
What are the Risk Factors for Sinusitis?
A person can be at risk of getting chronic or recurrent sinusitis if they have one or more of the following:
- A nasal passage abnormality
- Aspirin Sensitivity
- An immune system disorder
- Hay fever or other allergic conditions
- Regular exposure to pollutions
What are the Complications of Sinusitis?
Some complications that can be associated with sinusitis include
- Meningitis – this is an infection that can cause inflammation of your membranes and fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord.
- Other Infections – other infections can include bone issues like osteomyelitis or spread to the skin called cellulitis.
- Partial or Complete Loss of Sense of Smell – Nasal obstruction and inflammation of the olfactory nerve can cause you to have a loss of smell that could be temporary or even permanent.
- Vision Issues – if your infections end up spreading, it can spread to your eye socket. This can cause vision issues or even cause blindness that could end up being permanent.
How can I Prevent Sinusitis?
To reduce your risk of getting chronic sinusitis you should take the following steps:
- Avoid Upper Respiratory Infections
- Control Your Allergies
- Avoid Polluted Air
- Use a Humidifier at Home to Add Moisture to the Air
If you are having any issues with your sinuses and feel it has turned into an infection call your local allergist in Atlanta, Dr. Thomas Chacko. Call our office today at 404-256-7532