Here's everything you need to know about Sinusitis


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The human skull is like a shell made of thin bones containing cavities. Some of these cavities are occupied by structures like the brain, eyes, ears, nose, while others are air-filled spaces that communicate with the nose through tiny windows. These air-filled spaces make the headlight and cause an echo effect which gives volume to the human voice, similar to speaking into an earthenware pot.

It is a process by which the soft lining of the sinuses gets swollen and angry and the tiny windows to the nose get blocked leading to the fluid being produced and collecting in the sinuses. This fluid gets infected by bacteria and viruses.

Causes

Common colds, allergies, nasal polyps (soft grapelike swelling of the lining of the sinuses), or a crooked nose bone blocking the nose.

Symptoms

Sudden start-up of cold-like symptoms with a runny stuffy nose, pain in some area of the face that lasts more than 10 days.

  • Acute sinusitis lasts 10 to 14 days with two or more symptoms and yellow-green or opaque nasal discharge,
  • subacute lasts 4 to 8 weeks.
  • chronic sinusitis lasts 8 weeks or longer with symptoms of face swelling nose block pus in the nose, fever and
  • recurrent sinusitis is when several attacks occur within a year or symptoms lasting more than 12 months.
  • Facial pain/pressure, dull constant aching pain, worse when bending over or lying down, often starting on one side of the head and progressing to both sides of the head
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Nasal discharge, seen both in acute and chronic sinusitis, may be yellow or green in colour and may contain blood or pus
  • Loss of smell
  • Cough/congestion
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dental pain
  • Infection of the eye sockets with loss of vision accompanied by fever and severe illness.
  • Another serious complication is an infection of the bones (osteomyelitis) of the forehead and face

Conditions that predispose to sinusitis

  • Recurrent colds or allergies with a stuffy nose,
  • changes in the size of windows opening from the sinuses to the nose, maybe from birth or because of infections,
  • polyps in the nose,
  • decreased immunity either from birth or acquired from the use of medications like steroids and anticancer medications
  • smoking,
  • asthma,
  • cystic fibrosis a hereditary disorder producing very thick mucus in nose and lungs.
  • In children commonly allergies, infections acquired from other children at day care or school, pacifiers, drinking from bottles while lying on the back, and smoke or dust in the environment.

Most cases are viral infections, but bacterial infections are suspected if the symptoms last more than 10 days.

Diagnosis 

Made by the history of the illness combined with an examination by a doctor confirmed by CT scans or X-ray’s mucus cultures and if required an endoscopy procedure using a tiny camera and lights, to look into the nose.

Treatment 

Medical treatment by antibiotics, antiallergics, painkillers, nasal drops and sprays and if required steroids and immunoglobulins to boost immunity. The selection of medications and dosages of each will vary depending on the doctor’s assessment of the case. Selmef dication with over the counter prescriptions can often worsen acute sinusitis or make it chronic.

Self-help   

  • Avoiding anything known to cause you allergies including foods, deo sprays, air fresheners and other strong- smelling compounds that irritate the nose.
  • Steam inhalation which can even be done by running a hot shower after a bath and sitting in the steam for some time for those who find it difficult to do inhalations.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking or reduce as much as possible
  • Drink warm soups and fluids to help thin out the mucus
  • Walk 15 minutes a day or deep breathing exercises morning and evening to increase airflow through the nose and sinuses.
  • Avoid sitting under a fan with wet hair or in front of an air conditioner.

When is surgery indicated 

If medical treatments fail repeatedly and a blockage of the windows into the sinuses or a crooked nose bone or polyps are found on examination endoscopic sinus surgery and septoplasty or a new technique called balloon sinuplasty are indicated. Patients can resume work in two to five days after surgery.

What happens if sinusitis is not treated

It may resolve or become chronic or may progress to complications like the infection of the brain and skull bones or the sockets of the eyes leading to visual disturbances, which makes treatment longer, more expensive and surgical correction more extensive.

Made by history of the illness combined with an examination by a doctor confirmed by CT scans or X-ray’s mucus cultures and if required an endoscopy procedure using a tiny camera and lights, to look into the nose.

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