Sinusitis is common form of inflammation in the paranasal sinuses. These are cavities that generate mucus needed by the nasal passages to function properly. It can be acute or chronic and caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or allergies.
Even though it can be painful and uncomfortable, sinusitis often settles without requiring medical care. Nevertheless, if the symptoms last more than 7-10 days or accompanied by a severe headache or fever, a doctor must be seen.
What are the indications?
The symptoms tend to vary depending on the length and seriousness of the infection.
An individual has acute sinusitis if he/she has thick, yellow or green nasal discharge with the following symptoms:
- Blocked nose
- Facial pain and pressure
- Nasal congestion
In advanced cases, the following might also be present:
- Foul-smelling breath
In case the symptoms persist for 12 weeks or longer, the doctor will diagnose the individual with chronic sinusitis.
What are the risk factors?
The following factors increases the risk of an individual to develop sinusitis:
- Previous respiratory tract infections such as common cold
- Allergic reaction to pollen, dust or animal dander
- Nasal polyps in the nasal passages that can result to inflammation
- Poor immunity due to certain health conditions
- Structural issues in the nose such as a deviated septum
Management of sinusitis
The treatment for sinusitis is based on how long the condition lasts. For acute cases, most resolve without treatment. Due to the discomfort it causes, self-care measures and over-the-counter medications are used to lessen the symptoms. If bacteria are the cause, antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor.
For chronic cases, especially if fungus is the cause, antifungal drugs are prescribed. Corticosteroid sprays are also used in recurrent cases. In case of allergic sinusitis, proper management of the allergy with shots or avoidance can lower the frequency of the condition.