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Sinusitis and ways to diagnose it, treatment, at risk people

2021-09-14 13:34:21

Dr. Fariba Azadikhah
Reviewed by:
Dr. Fariba Azadikhah


You can find the answers to the following questions in this article:

  1. What is sinusitis?
  2. What are the different types of sinusitis?
  3. Who is susceptible to get sinusitis?
  4. How can sinusitis be diagnosed?
  5. How can you avoid sinusitis?
  6. What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

what is sinusitis

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis or sinus infection is a condition in which the tissues lining the sinuses inflame or swell. It's important to know what sinuses are? Sinuses are four pairs of cavities that are connected by narrow channels. The tissues inside of each sinus produce mucus that drains out of the nose. This drainage makes the channels and nose clean and free of any microorganisms. In normal conditions sinuses are filled with air but if they will be blocked by different reasons fluid can be accumulated in the cavities. The accumulated fluid is a perfect place for various microorganisms like bacterias to grow and cause infection. If this happens we call it bacterial sinusitis.
This is sometimes called rhinosinusitis, that “rhino” meaning “nose.” The nasal tissue is almost always swollen if sinus tissue is inflamed.
What are the different types of sinuses near the nose and eyes?
As it was mentioned before there are four pairs of cavities in your scalp near the nose and eyes. These sinuses are called by the name of bone structures that embraced them.

These are paranasal sinuses:

      • The ethmoidal sinuses are located between your eyes.
      • The maxillary sinuses are located below your eyes.
      • The sphenoidal sinuses are located behind your eyes.
      • The frontal sinuses are located above your eyes.

The biggest sinus is the maxillary and because of its location, the possibility of infectious sinusitis is higher.

What are the different types of sinusitis?

    • Acute bacterial sinusitis: this type of sinus infection refers to the sudden onset of cold symptoms like a runny nose or even a stuffy nose. In the period of illness facial pain does not go away even after ten days. Most patients think they are better and improved but symptoms may return and get worse. This term is called double sickening. Acute bacterial sinusitis responds very well to antibiotics and decongestants medications.
    • Chronic sinusitis:  the symptoms of this term are somehow like the acute term. As an example, patients experience nasal congestion, drainage, and facial pain, and decreased sensation of smells. These symptoms last for at least 12 weeks and because of the long period, it is called chronic.
    • Subacute sinusitis: if the symptoms of sinusitis last for periods between acute and chronic it is called subacute. The period of illness is about four to twelve weeks.
    • Recurrent acute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms come back four or more times in one year and last less than two weeks each time. In this term, you experienced acute sinusitis symptoms at least four times annually.

If you want to know more about Rhinoplasty and Different types of Rhinoplasty, can read these articles.

Who are at risk of sinusitis?

Although infectious sinusitis can happen to anybody, there are special conditions that can increase the chance of sinusitis like nasal allergies, nasal polyps, asthma, and abnormal nose structures. Some modifiable factors like smoking can increase sinus infection chance.

What causes sinusitis?

Sinus infection can be caused by any type of microorganisms like a virus, bacteria, or fungus that swells and blocks the sinuses. Some of the most common reasons for sinus infection are:

      • The common cold.
      • Nasal and seasonal allergies, including allergies to mold.
      • Polyps (growths).
      • A deviated septum. (The septum is the line of cartilage that divides the nose)
      • A weak immune system from illness or medications like immunosuppress drugs

What are the signs and symptoms of sinusitis?

These are common signs and symptoms of sinusitis:

    • Post nasal drip (mucus drips down the throat)
    • Nasal discharge (thick yellow or green discharge from nose)
    • stuffy nose
    • Facial pressure and pain (particularly around the nose, eyes, and forehead)
    • Headache
    • Pain in your teeth or ears
    • Halitosis (bad breath)
    • Cough
    • Tiredness
    • Fever

How is sinusitis diagnosed by doctors?

First of all your doctor will ask a series of questions to get a detailed medical history and finding out your symptoms which help diagnosis. Some physical examinations like the observation of your ears, nose, and throat are done in order to find out any swelling, draining, or blockage. In some complicated cases, you might be referred to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. If you need an imaging exam, your specialist would order a computed tomography (CT) scan.


How simple sinusitis can be treated?

    • Decongestants.
    • Over-the-counter cold and allergy medications.
    • Nasal saline irrigation.
    • Drinking fluids (sinus infection is a viral infection and fluids will help)

How long term sinusitis (a chronic type of sinusitis) can be treated?

      • Intranasal steroid sprays.
      • Topical antihistamine sprays or oral pills.
      • Leukotriene antagonists to reduce swelling and allergy symptoms.
      • Rinsing the nose with saline solutions that might also contain other types of medication.

When sinusitis isn't monitored by one of the above treatments, a CT scan is used to take a better look at sinuses. Depending on the results, surgery may be needed to correct structural problems in your sinuses. This is most likely to happen if you have polyps and/or fungal infection.

How can you prevent sinusitis?

Some home remedies are good for preventing sinusitis. You can wash inside of your nose with saltwater and consume medications your health provider may suggest such as allergy medications or steroid nasal sprays. If you are allergic to any substance try to avoid them like perfumes, dust, pollen, or even smoke. Wash your hands and avoid sick people to reduce your chance of getting a cold or flu.

Is sinusitis contagious?

However you can not spread your bacterial sinus infection, you can spread viruses and bacterias which caused your sinusitis.
Remember all the instructions and follow them like good handwashing practices, in order to avoid people if you are sick and to sneeze or cough into your elbow if you have to sneeze or cough.

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