Sinusitis is a common medical condition. Acute sinusitis causes the cavities around nasal passages (sinuses) to become inflamed and swollen. The swelling traps mucus in the sinuses and it stops the normal flow of mucus from the sinuses to the back of the throat.
Acute sinusitis is most often caused by the common cold. Other triggers include allergies, such as hay fever which also causes mucous membrane swelling. Bacteria and fungal infections can also trigger sinusitis. Sinusitis that lasts more than 12 weeks, or keeps coming back, is called chronic sinusitis. It can lead to serious infections and other complications. Doctors do not understand exactly what causes chronic sinusitis, but it may follow a viral infection, a severe allergy, or exposure to an environmental pollutant.
Commonly the symptoms of sinus infection are headache, facial tenderness, pressure or pain, and fever. However, only as few as 25% of patients may have fever associated with acute sinus infection. Other common symptoms include cloudy, discolored nasal drainage, a feeling of nasal stuffiness, sore throat, and cough.
Certain complications may occur following acute sinusitis including asthma flare-ups, chronic sinusitis, meningitis, vision problems or even ear infection.
To help reduce the risk of getting acute sinusitis you should minimize contact with people who have colds, wash hands frequently, carefully manage your allergies, avoid cigarette smoke and polluted air, and use a humidifier.
The treatment of acute sinusitis is aimed at improving sinus drainage and curing the infection. The treatment depends on the cause. In most cases, home remedies will suffice. Treatment may include the use of saline nasal spray to rinse out nasal passage and help clear sinuses. Oral and topical nasal decongestants, like sprays, may also be used to help relieve nasal congestion due to sinusitis and are generally taken for only a few days. These medications help shrink swollen nasal passages, facilitating the flow of drainage from the sinuses. The use of nasal corticosteroids, and sometimes antibiotics or other prescription medicine may be needed.
Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor in order to have professional advice on the best way to relieve your symptoms.