WHAT IS IT?
Sinusitis causes the cavities around your nasal passages (sinuses) to inflame and swell. This interferes with drainage and causes mucus to build up in nasal cavities.
Sinusitis may last for a short period (acute) or persist (chronic). Acute sinusitis is most often caused by the common cold. Chronic sinusitis may stem from an infection, but is more likely to be associated with allergies, growths in the sinuses (nasal polyps), a deviated nasal septum or airborne pollutants.
SYMPTOM - Signs and symptoms may include:
- Drainage of thick, yellow or greenish discharge
- Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing
- Pain, swelling, and pressure around your eyes, cheeks or forehead
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
- Headache, ear pain or both
- Aching in your upper jaw and teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Cough, which may be worse at night
Acute sinusitis related to the common cold can often be treated with self-care measures. Antibiotics are generally prescribed only if the infection is severe or persistent and thought to be caused by bacteria.
In addition to getting plenty of rest and fluids, try these measures:
- Moisten your sinus cavities. Take a hot shower, breathing in the warm, moist air. This will help ease pain and help mucus drain.
- Apply warm compresses to your face. Place warm, damp towels around your nose, cheeks and eyes to ease facial pain.
- Rinse out your nasal passages. Use a specially designed squeeze bottle or neti pot to rinse your nasal passages. This home remedy can help clear your sinuses. Rinse the device after each use.
- Use a saline nasal spray. Spray it into your nose several times a day to rinse your nasal passages.
For chronic sinusitis, in addition to self-care measures, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following:
- Nasal corticosteroid. These nasal sprays help prevent and treat inflammation.
- Oral or injected corticosteroid. They’re used to relieve inflammation from severe sinusitis, especially if you also have nasal polyps.
- Aspirin desensitization treatment. It may be recommended if your sinusitis is associated with an allergy to aspirin. The treatment is available only in specialized medical centers.
- Immunotherapy. If allergies are contributing to your sinusitis, allergy shots (immunotherapy) that reduce the body’s reaction to specific allergens may help treat sinusitis.
- Surgery. In some cases, a surgeon may remove scar tissue or a polyp that’s causing a nasal blockage. Enlarging a narrow sinus opening also may be an option to promote drainage.
Excerpt From: The Mayo Clinic. “Mayo Clinic A to Z Health Guide”.