What is sinusitis ?
Description of sinusitis
Causes and risk factors of sinusitis
Symptoms of sinusitis
Diagnosis of sinusitis
Treatment of sinusitis
Prevention of sinusitis
What is sinusitis ?
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal sinuses. It is usually caused by infection or allergy or other environmental factors.
Description of Sinusitis:
The sinuses are the air filled spaces in the skull between the facial bones. There are four main sinuses:
- Maxillary sinuses
- Frontal sinuses
- Ethmoidal and
- Sphenoidal sinuses
The sinuses are lined with membranes that secrete antibody-containing mucus, which protects the respiratory passages from the pollutants in the air that we breathe. Normally, sinuses are filled with air, but when they get blocked and filled with fluid, germs (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) can grow and cause an infection.
Causes and Risk Factors of Sinusitis:
Mostly sinusitis is caused by infection (such as a cold or an upper respiratory tract infection). This infection from the nose can travel to the sinuses through the narrow passages that drain mucus from the sinuses into the nose.
Allergies to dust, pollen, pet dander; indoor air pollutants such as cigarette smoke, smell of chemicals and outdoor air pollutants all can induce inflammation.
Excessive dryness of air in homes and offices from dry-air heating and air-conditioning systems can also inflame the sinuses.
Immunological as well as structural problems, such as narrow drainage passages, nasal obstruction (tumors, polyps or a deviated septum) are other possible causes of sinusitis.
Symptoms of acute (short lasting) sinusitis are:
Symptoms of chronic (long lasting) sinusitis are:
- Nasal obstruction
- Changed voice
- Pus-like (purulent) nasal discharge
- Loss of sense of smell
- Facial pain or headache that is sometimes aggravated by bending over
- Maxillary sinusitis (the most common type) manifests as cheek or dental pain.
- Forehead pain indicates frontal sinusitis.
- Pain at the bridge of the nose or behind the eye suggests ethmoid sinusitis.
- Pain referred to the top of the head indicates sphenoidal involvement.
Less common signs of sinusitis include:
- Facial fullness / congestion
- Headache that occurs daily for weeks at a time, and is often notably worse in the morning and with head movement
- Nasal obstruction / blockage
- Nasal discharge with discolored postnasal drainage
Diagnosis of Sinusitis:
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Chronic throat clearing
- Puffy eyes
- Stuffy ears
- Fatigue, irritability and depression
- Chronic cold
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Gestational diabetes is managed by insulin, diet and exercise and goes away after the baby is born.
Treatment of Sinusitis:
Doctor may prescribe one or more of the following remedies –
If a bacterial infection is present, the doctor usually prescribes antibiotics for about 10 days.
Decongestants- These temporarily relieve symptoms and also help the healing process by draining the nose and sinuses
Over-the-Counter Nasal Sprays- they are effective when used for a few days, but can be addictive when used for longer periods of time.
Prescription inhalers- They can help reduce sinus inflammation (these are not decongestants and are not habit-forming) and can be taken for long duration as advised by the doctor.
Expectorants- Medicines that liquefy the mucus so that it drains out smoothly.
Antihistamines- Medications that help relieve nasal itching and inflammation. They give relief from symptoms of cold such as sneezing.
Humidifiers and salt-water sprays- Keeping a humidifier running in home or using an over-the-counter salt-water spray (inhaled through the nose) five or six times a day can provide dramatic relief in dry air induced sinusitis.
Recurring sinusitis with bacterial infection requires one of the new, stronger antibiotics in larger doses for a longer period as advised by the doctor.
Prevention of Sinusitis
- Reduce exposure to allergens.
- Improve household ventilation by opening windows whenever possible.
- Use a humidifier in the home or office when the person has a cold.
- Sleep with the head of the bed elevated. This promotes sinus drainage.
- Use decongestants with caution.
- Avoid air pollutants (such as smoke) that irritate the nose.
- Eat a balanced diet and exercise.
- Minimize exposure to persons suffering from respiratory infection.
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