Sinusitis (Sinus Infection): Symptoms, Treatment & More
Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, is a common condition that can cause symptoms like facial pain, pressure, and headaches. It is more common in adults. It affects at least 10% of the child population or about one in every ten children. This condition can be treated initially with antibiotics, pain relievers, and decongestants.
In this article, we’ll discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for both acute and chronic sinusitis.
What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is a condition in which the sinuses become inflamed and irritated. The sinuses are the cavities located around the nose, eyes, below the brain, and behind the cheekbones. When these cavities become inflamed, they can cause a variety of symptoms, including a stuffy nose, headaches, and facial pain.
Sinusitis is usually caused by an infection, although allergies or other irritants can also cause it. Treatment of bacterial sinusitis requires antibiotics to clear the infection. Home remedies can also help to relieve the symptoms.
Types of Sinusitis
There are four types of sinusitis: acute sinusitis, subacute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis, and recurrent sinusitis.
- Acute sinusitis is the most common type of sinusitis. It usually starts with a cold or the flu, leading to a bacterial infection. Acute sinusitis is usually short-lived and resolves on its own within two weeks. However, some people may need antibiotics and supportive medication to clear the infection.
- Subacute sinusitis develops after a cold or the flu and lasts for four to eight weeks.
- Chronic sinusitis lasts for more than eight weeks.
- Recurrent sinusitis occurs when a person has four or more episodes of acute or chronic sinusitis over the course of a year.
Symptoms for Sinusitis
If you have sinusitis, you will likely experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Pain in your cheeks, forehead, or between your eyes
- A blocked nose or a nose that constantly drips
- Yellow or green mucus from your nose
- A sore throat
- Bad breath
- Facial pain
- Disturbance in vision
You might also have a fever and feel generally unwell. If you have any of these symptoms for more than a week, it’s time to seek sinus infection treatment from a doctor.
Risks & Complications related to Sinusitis
There are a number of risks and complications of sinusitis. If left untreated, sinusitis can lead to serious health problems like eye and brain-associated complications. Sinusitis can also cause hearing loss and vision problems. In rare cases, it can be fatal.
If you have sinusitis, you must see your doctor to treat the condition properly. With proper treatment, most people recover from it without any complications.
Diagnosis for Sinusitis
It’s not always easy to know if you have sinusitis. Many symptoms are similar to a cold, such as a runny nose, congestion, and sneezing. And some people with sinusitis also have allergies.
To diagnose sinusitis, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. They may also order tests, such as a CT scan or MRI of your sinuses, to look for signs of infection or inflammation.
Treatment of Sinusitis
There are a number of ways to treat sinusitis, depending on the underlying cause. If the cause is an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. If allergies trigger the condition, antihistamines and other allergy medications may be recommended. Nasal corticosteroids can also help to reduce inflammation.
If medical treatment does not improve the symptoms, surgery may be an option. The goal of surgery is to improve drainage from the sinuses and relieve pressure on them. There are a number of surgical procedures that can be used to treat sinusitis. The type of surgery that is recommended will depend on the individual patient's situation.
Prevention of Sinusitis
The cause of sinusitis can be a viral infection, such as a cold, or by an allergic reaction to something in the environment, such as pollen. There are several things that people can do for the prevention of sinusitis. These include:
- Avoiding exposure to things that trigger allergies (such as pollen)
- Using a humidifier to keep the air moist
- Nasal wash to flush out the sinuses
- Avoiding environmental irritants (such as smoke)
- Using a nasal spray to keep the nasal passages moist
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I have sinusitis?
Sinusitis can be suspected if you have facial pain/pressure, congestion/nasal discharge, headache, and a reduced sense of smell and taste. A doctor can diagnose sinusitis by performing a physical exam, examining your symptoms, and performing imaging tests such as a CT scan.
Who might get sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses, which can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Anyone can get sinusitis, though it is more common in people with weakened immune systems and those who suffer from allergies or asthma.
What does severe sinusitis feel like?
Bad sinusitis can feel like a real pain in the head. It can cause pressure and pain in the forehead, cheeks, or behind the eyes.
How can I relieve sinusitis pain?
There are a few things you can do to help relieve sinusitis pain: drink lots of fluids; use a humidifier; apply a warm compress to your face, and try over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
If your pain is severe or lasts more than a week, you should see a doctor. They may prescribe antibiotics if they think you have a bacterial infection or recommend other treatments like steroids to reduce inflammation.