What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the paranasal sinuses (the sinuses are small, air filled spaces inside the cheekbones and forehead. They make some mucus, which drains into the nose through the small channels). Sinusitis is usually caused by bacterias, viruses, but it can also be cause by changes in air preassure, infections from dental problems, physical injuries.

According to the causes sinusitis can be classified in several ways:

  • Infected sinusitis usually is caused by uncomplicated virus infection. Less frequently, bacterial growth causes sinus infection and fungal sinus infection is very infrequent. Subacute and chronic forms of sinus infection usually are the result of incomplete treatment of an acute sinus infection.
  • Non infectious sinusitis is caused by irritants and allergic conditions and follows the same general time line for acute, subacute and chronic as infectious sinusitis.

According to the duration sinusitis can be classified:

  • Acute sinus infection  is usually defined as being of less than 30 days duration.
  • Subacute sinus infection as being over 1 month but less than 3 months.
  • Chronic sinus infection as being greater than 3 months.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

The symptoms of sinusitis are:
  • Loss of smell;
  • Fatigue;
  • Fever;
  • Headache;
  • Dental pain;
  • Weakness;
  • Bad breath;
  • Sore throat;
  • Stuffy or runny nose;
  • Swelling eyes.

How is sinusitis diagnosed?

Diagnostic tests to assess the potential causes for sinusitis may include a mucus culture, nasal endoscopy, X-rays, allergy testing, CT scan of the sinuses, blood or other tests for poor immune function.

How is sinusitis treated?

Antibiotics will be prescribed for any bacterial infection found in the sinuses, however antibiotics are not effective against a viral infection. An antihistamine may be recommended for the treatment of allergies.

Antifungal medicine may be prescribed for a fungal sinus infection. Immunoglobulin (antibodies) may be given if you have certain immune deficiencies. Moreover, if your doctor has prescribed antibiotics or any other medications, be sure to follow the directions carefully. Sinusitis can be difficult to get rid of otherwise and can easily return if it's not fully treated the first time. Even if you feel better, it's important to keep taking your medicines until you've finished the course prescribed by your doctor.

Usually acute sinusitis should be treated for 10 - 14 days, chronic sinusitis should be treated for 3 - 4 weeks. If nothing doesn't help the best treatment is an operation, which is called functional endoscopis sinus surgery (FESS). This involves a surgeon inserting an endoscope into the nose. The endoscope used for this procedure is a thin rigid instrument that contains lenses. The endoscope allows a detailed magnified view of inside the nose. The surgeon can see the opening of the sinus drainage channels and can remove any tissues that are blocking the drainage of the affected sinus. This operation is minimally invasive and usually has a high success rate in relieving symptoms of chronic sinusitis.

What are complications of sinusitis?

Serious complications do not occur frequently, it is possible for sinus infection to cause a direct extension of infection into the brain through a sinus wall, creating a life-threatening emergency. In addition, other adjacent structures can become infected and develop problems, such as osteomyelitis of bones in the skull and infection around the eye.



SinupretSa says:
Sinusitis can get to a stage were by you stop you everyday activities because you just cannot handle the pain anymore. This is why it is so important to be informed about the signs and symptoms of it!