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Sinusitis: Know The Symptoms, Causes and More

Sinuses are the cavities that produce the mucus necessary for the nasal passages to work effectively. Sinusitis or sinus infection is the inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. Sinusitis interferes with the way mucus normally drains and makes the nose stuffy.

Types of sinusitis

  1. Acute sinusitis: This is the most common type and lasts for about 2-4 weeks

  2. Subacute sinusitis: The sinus inflammation usually lasts 4 to 12 weeks

  3. Chronic sinusitis: Lasts for a long time, usually longer than 12 weeks

  4. Recurrent sinusitis: It happens several times a year

Causes of sinusitis

Sinusitis can be caused due to

  1. Viral infections

  2. Bacterial infections

  3. Fungal infections or

  4. Pollutants

Risk factors of sinusitis

People are at an increased risk of sinusitis who had

  1. Previous respiratory tract infection

  2. Nasal polyps

  3. Allergies

  4. Structural problems in the septum (deviated septum)

  5. Weakened immune system

  6. Asthma

Symptoms of sinusitis

Common signs and symptoms of sinusitis include:

  1. Reduced sense of smell and taste

  2. Nasal discharge

  3. Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty in breathing

  4. Pain, tenderness, and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead

Other signs and symptoms include:

  1. Headache

  2. Ear pain

  3. Sore throat

  4. Fatigue

  5. Bad breath

Diagnosis of sinusitis

The condition is diagnosed with the help of

  1. Imaging tests: CT or MRI scans can show the details of sinuses and nasal area and any inflammation in sinuses.

  2. Nasal endoscopy: A thin, flexible tube with a fiber-optic light is inserted through the nose to examine the inside of the sinuses

  3. An allergy test: A skin test is safe and quick to help detect what allergen is responsible for the nasal flare-ups

  4. Samples from the nasal and sinus: A swab is placed inside the nose to collect samples that might help determine the cause (a bacterial or fungal or viral infection)

Treatment of sinusitis

Treatment usually depends on the severity of the condition. Acute sinusitis doesn’t require any treatment beyond symptomatic relief. Other treatments include:

  1. Antibiotic therapy: If the cause is a bacterial infection

  2. Saline nasal spray: Nasal sprays or solutions helps to reduce the drainage and rinse away irritants and allergies

  3. Nasal corticosteroids: The nasal sprays with corticosteroids may help to prevent and treat inflammation

  4. Nasal decongestants: These medications are available over-the-counter (OTC), and should be used only when prescribed

  5. Surgery: When the above treatments fail, surgery may be recommended


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