To understand sinusitis, you need to first know what sinus is. Sinus are hollow space in the body but typically sinusitis affects the paranasal sinus located behind your face that leads to the passage of the nasal cavity.
At normal times, these sinuses function to form a thin layer of mucus that overlies the surface of the sinus and nasal pathway. This mucus helps to filter away dust and tiny organisms before entering the lungs. Sinusitis happens when there is a blockage and causes the mucus to build up. These build up of mucus leads to irritation and inflammation of
the sinuses.They are basically 2 major types of sinusitis, acute and chronic sinusitis. Acute sinusitis lasts for about 7 to 10 days and is usually caused by infectious causes like bacterial, viral and fungal sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis is typically caused by allergic reactions. More than 50% of chronic sinusitis are asthmatic patients and they are allergic to dust, pollen, chemicals and pollutants in the air.
When should I see a doctor?
Sinusitis can be normally treated at home using home remedies and over the counter (OTC) drugs, however there are certain indications where you should see a doctor and get treated.
- Longer duration of symptoms. Typically if your symptoms persist more than usual or more than 10 days without any signs of improvement.
- Symptoms are severe even after getting treated with home remedies or over the counter medications.
- Worsening of symptoms noticed after a period of improvement. This might indicate the other differential diagnosis than sinusitis.
- Changes in eye vision or experiencing swelling and pain around the eyes as associated symptoms.
- Accompanied by high grade fever lasting more than 5 days.
If you have any of these above conditions, please immediately consult a doctor to find out the causes and get it treated appropriately.
Symptoms of sinusitis
Symptoms of sinusitis depend entirely on the duration of illness and the severity of sinusitis. Symptoms of acute sinusitis last for about 1 to 2 weeks while chronic sinusitis last for months with episodic attacks when exposed to triggers. Here are some very common symptoms of sinusitis;
- Nasal discharge. Colour, odour and thickness of discharge also depends on the causative agents.
- Runny nose or blocked nose
- Pain around the face near the nose
- Sore throat and cough
- Headaches associated with facial pain
- Reduced sensation of smell
- Toothache and bad breath
Treatments of sinusitis
Home remedies or over the counter drugs often works to relieve symptoms of sinusitis. Here are some ways you can opt for sinus care;
- Nasal irrigation. Rinse and clear your nose with salt water or prepared solution sold in pharmacies. Follow the instructions properly as a good technique ensures good outcomes.
- Warm compression. If you have pain or swelling around the face, gently apply warm packs on your face regularly.
- Pain killers. Paracetamol or other pain killers often helps in reducing the pain intensity. Consume with the right dosage to prevent unwanted consequences and side effects.
- Steam Inhalation. This traditional way of clearing the nasal passage is a good way to relieve your symptoms. Place a pot of hot water and inhale the steam slowly.
- Decongestant sprays. They are sold in pharmacies and only use about 2 to 3 days only.
- Nasal steroids and antihistamine. These are some medications your doctors usually prescribe for sinusitis. Steroid are only to be used for short courses to prevent long term side effects.
- If the causative organism is bacterial, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics susceptible to the organism for a few days duration.
Surgical options. Surgery is usually the last resort for sinusitis that cannot be treated with medication.