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Sinusitis - Symptoms and remedies

ShyamprofileDr. Shyamprasad

Sinus

What is sinus:

            Medically known as sinusitis, a sinus infection occurs when your nasal cavities become swollen and inflamed.

            Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and often persists even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. In rare cases, fungus or bacteria may cause a sinus infection. Allergies, nasal polyps, a tooth infection, and a deviated septum can also trigger sinusitis.

            In most cases Sinusitis is not a communicable condition.

Symptoms:

  • fever, (on and off)
  • cloudy discoloured nasal or postnasal drainage,
  • feeling of nasal stuffiness, blockage
  • sore throat,
  • cough, and
  • occasionally facial swelling
  • inability to taste food
  • bad breadth
  • generalised tooth ache

 

Acute Sinusitis: Diagnosed when symptoms last up to 4 weeks. It is usually caused by viruses or bacteria.

Acute viral sinusitis: is likely if you have been sick less than 10 days and are not getting worse.

Acute bacterial sinusitis: is likely when you do not improve at all within 10 days of getting sick or when you get worse within 10 days after beginning to get better.

Chronic Sinusitis: Lasts for 12 weeks or longer and is usually caused by prolonged inflammation, rather than a longstanding infection.

 

Normal remedies:

  • Steam inhalations
  • Repeated warm compress to the cheek bone areas
  • Staying away from dust, smoke, pets, pollen
  • Drinking water (preferably warm) throughout the day
  • Saline wash your nasal cavity to flush out the discharge
  • Staying away from dry conditions (breathing moist air helps)
  • Consumption of spicy food (of all other health conditions allow the same)

            Because chronic sinusitis is caused more by inflammation than infection, the treatments for chronic sinusitis are meant to control the inflammation. Salt water nasal irrigation and/or nasal steroid sprays are the main treatments for the symptoms of chronic sinusitis. It may help to look for other factors that can go along with chronic sinusitis and possibly make the problem worse, and have them treated too. Some of these factors are allergies, nasal polyps, asthma, and problems with the body’s ability to fight infections.

Surgical treatment:

            Surgery for the sinuses is done when the symptoms can’t be controlled with medications and other treatments. The most common type of surgery for the sinuses is called endoscopic sinus surgery, because a pencil-sized scope (“endoscope”) is used to see inside the nose and sinuses and guide the surgery. The purpose of the surgery is to widen the natural drainage pathways between the sinuses and the nose, allowing mucus to get out of the sinuses and air to get in. Medications that are delivered to the surface of the nose and sinuses, like sprays and irrigations, can get into the sinuses better after surgery as well thereby making them more effective.

 

Deviated nasal septum: (often mistaken to be a sinus problem)


            It is a condition in which the nasal septum, the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity of the nose (left and right nostril), is significantly off center, or crooked, making breathing difficult. A majority of people, sometimes unknowingly, have some sort of misalignment to their nasal septum. Only the more severe imbalances cause significant breathing problems and require treatment. Some people have it by birth or may acquire is by some injury or trauma to nose. 

            Except from recurring breathing problems, other symptoms include frequent,
Nosebleeds, Headaches, pain around the cheek bone, sleep apnoea (a potentially life threatening condition when one momentarily stops breathing during sleep)

            These symptoms can be relieved temporarily by medication but this condition can't be relieved completely without surgery. Surgical intervention (Septoplasty), is needed when the symptoms can't be relieved by medications, wherein the deviation is corrected completely.

            A general physician would be able to diagonise, differentiate between the conditions sinusitis and deviated septum.

Important to note:

  • Do not self medicate with antibiotics as soon as the symptoms surface as this could lead to other potentially dangerous health problems
  • If the symptoms persist or get worse within a few days of following certain normal home remedies (not treatments) approach your general physician

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