What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is a swelling in the tissue lining the sinuses. Normally, sinuses are filled with air, but when they are blocked, they can fill with viruses, bacteria, and fungi that can cause infection. Conditions that can block sinuses included: a common cold, allergic rhinitis (allergies), and nasal polyps. Symptoms of sinusitis include mucus drainage, pressure/discomfort in sinus area, sensation of tooth pain, and fever. Headaches are not caused by sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis refers to sinusitis symptoms lasting less than four weeks. Some cases begin as the common cold. Symptoms often go away within a week to 10 days. Most of the time, antibiotics are not necessary to treat acute sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when acute symptoms have gone on for more than eight weeks despite medical treatment.
Recurrent sinusitis occurs when two or more serious sinus infections occur in one year.
The symptoms of a sinus infection often include:
- Nasal discharge and congestion
- Facial pain or pressure
- Loss of smell
- Pain in the teeth
- Wheeze, if asthmatic
Treatment for sinusitis may include saline irrigations, nasal sprays, decongestants, use of a vaporizer, or antibiotics. To address triggers and chronic and recurrent sinusitis, an allergist will conduct a medical history and possibly conduct skin testing to determine which triggers are causing nasal swelling. Knowing the potential triggers is often the first step in management of sinusitis. Once the allergist knows the triggers that are causing your chronic symptoms, a treatment plan will be recommended.
When the underlying cause of chronic sinusitis is treated effectively, symptoms frequently disappear. Immunotherapy (allergy shots, drops or tablets) may be an effective long-term approach towards a cure and it is the only disease modifying treatment for nasal allergies. Consulting an allergist to find a solution may help you regain control and to live free of chronic sinusitis.