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Sinusitis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Author: Dr. Mashfika N Alam - ENT health
Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018  

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Abstract:

Sinusitis is the infection of the air cavities within the nasal passages. Normally, the healthy sinuses are filled with air. When there is an infection, the sinuses get filled with fluid and germs can grow there causing inflammation.
Image: Sinusitis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Contents


Sinusitis is defined as inflammation of the mucosal lining of the sinus passages. Frequent attacks of sinusitis for over three months, also known as chronic sinusitis, result in the thickening of the mucosal membranes and an excess production of nasal and sinus secretions. These secretions are usually thick and sticky and frequently predispose the sinuses to bacterial infection.

Common Causes of Sinusitis

  • A cold or flu.
  • Frequent exposure to allergens, such as dust mites, mold, pollen, etc.
  • Frequent rhinitis.
  • Exposure to extremes of air temperature.
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke.
  • Certain structural deformities in the upper respiratory tract, such as a deviated nasal septum, nasal polyps, hypertrophy of inferior turbinates (chronic sinusitis can itself cause hypertrophy of inferior turbinates), allergies. Nasal polyps and deviated nasal septum are by far, the commonest causes of chronic rhinosinusitis.

Symptoms

  1. Sinus pressure and pain.
  2. Blocked nose.
  3. Sinus and nasal congestion.
  4. Post-nasal drip.
  5. A frequent headache.
  6. Difficulty in breathing.
  7. A sore throat.
  8. Halitosis.
  9. Irritability.
  10. A chronic cough.
  11. Sleep disturbances.

Complications

  • Meningitis.
  • Periorbital cellulitis or abscess.
  • Cavernous sinus infection.
  • Brain abscess.
  • Osteomyelitis.

Hence, it is important to ensure proper and adequate treatment of sinusitis, both acute and chronic.

Investigations:

Commonly, a doctor can identify sinusitis by the history of symptoms and clinical examination. Other than that, an X-ray of paranasal sinuses can clearly point out the presence and in most cases the underlying cause of sinusitis.

Remedies and Cure

The following measures are quite effective in treating the above-mentioned symptoms:

  1. Steam with menthol inhalation three times a day.
  2. Nasal saline wash with a neti pot.
  3. A humidifier at home.
  4. Avoid allergens such as dust mites, mold, pollens, etc. by wearing masks or avoiding contact with mold spores or animal dander can significantly decrease the attacks of rhinosinusitis.
  5. Drink a mixture of warm water, honey, and lime to clear the mucus stuck in the throat from post-nasal drip.

Some Medications That May Be Required

  • Antihistamines for allergies.
  • Nasal decongestants (not longer than three days if used thrice daily, as they can cause rebound congestion).
  • Nasal steroid spray (Budesonide or Fluticasone) to control the inflammatory process.
  • Antibiotics are required if there is fever or/and purulent nasal discharge.
  • Mast cell stabilizers may be used to control symptoms of allergies.

In Severe Cases, Surgical Procedures May Also Be Considered

  • Functional endoscopic sinus surgery.
  • Polypectomy.
  • Turbinectomy.
  • Chemical sinus cautery.

For more information consult a sinusitis specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist/sinusitis


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