Signs include a sniffle that lingers, persistently itchy eyes, the indomitable pressure that radiates throughout your entire head. It feels like a cold that has worn out its welcome, seeming to get worse, not better. If this describes your life for extended periods, it is likely that you suffer from sinusitis.
What are the Sinuses?
Simply put, the sinuses are the hollowed out spaces in the bones surrounding the nose. They serve as passageways to connect directly to your nose. When healthy, the sinuses are open to allow airflow from the nose to the sinuses. Mucus that is made in the sinuses drains effortlessly back into the nose.
What is Sinusitis?
Commonly referred to as rhinosinusitis, sinusitis is a condition in which inflammation or infection affects the sinuses. It generally occurs once bacteria or viruses have settled into the sinuses, which typically happens during a cold. The body sends out its best defenses, causing the lining of the sinuses to swell, which blocks the drainage pathways. Mucus has nowhere else to go, therefore it painfully fills up the nose and sinus cavities.
How Common is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis affects roughly one out of eight adults every year and is most frequently experienced during cold season.
What are the Marks of Acute Sinusitis?
The basic timeline for determining acute sinusitis is marked by symptoms that have remained present for up to four weeks. Symptoms include the following:
- Colored or cloudy drainage from the nose
- Congestion and general stuffiness in the nose
- Pain, pressure or swelling in the face, including around the eyes or throughout the head
Is Acute Sinusitis Caused by Viruses or Bacteria?
The easy answer is both. However, it is usually only caused by one or the other. Acute viral sinusitis is the plausible diagnosis if you are sick for less than 10 days and not getting worse. Acute bacterial sinusitis is diagnosed when you are not improving within 10 days or actually getting worse before getting better.
Why is Vital to Determine if Sinusitis is Viral or Bacterial?
The treatment for sinusitis depends largely on the cause. Acute viral sinusitis is unaffected by antibiotics but can be helped with pain relievers, steroid nasal sprays, or saline rinses. All of these treatments are certainly useful for acute bacterial sinusitis, but antibiotics may be needed to aid in the healing process.
What is Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis can last for 12 weeks or even longer. It is caused by prolonged inflammation rather than a persistent infection.
Is Chronic Sinusitis Treated Differently than Acute Sinusitis?
Treatment of chronic sinusitis is aimed at reducing inflammation. This may involve searching for and treating other underlying causes, such as allergies, asthma, nasal polyps, or a weakened immune system.
Is Surgery Necessary?
If medication and other treatment options have been exhausted, surgery may be required. Endoscopic sinus surgery called sinuplasty, seeks to widen the natural pathways allowing mucus and air to flow freely between the sinuses and the nose.
Where Should Sinus Pain Sufferers Seek Treatment?
Home remedies and natural options can be quite beneficial, but they may not be efficacious for every person. If you suffer from severe and continual sinus pain, seek treatment from an otolaryngologist. An otolaryngologist or an ENT doctor is a head and neck surgeon who specializes in treatments and surgical procedures that can finally eliminate your sinus symptoms.