Sniff, Sniff, Sinusitis
Posted on May 24, 2015 | Author and Reviewed by: Mark Ernest Del Rosario, RPh
Have you been having a bad case of the sniffles lately? Have you taken your Medicine for cough and colds? Maybe what you have is no ordinary cold. There is a possibility that what you may have is a case of sinusitis.
Sinusitis is the swelling of the nasal passages, specifically the sinuses. More often than not, it is caused by a bacterial infection but it can also be caused by viruses and fungi. The ones who are more prone to this illness are persons with compromised immune systems.
There are many causes of sinusitis. Some of these are:
- Nasals Polyps- These may grow in the sinuses and cause difficulty in breathing
- Nasal Deformities – Like a crooked septum that may limit the sinus passages
- Allergies- Such as hay fever
- Respiratory Tract Infection- Such as colds or bacterial infection
- Immune system problems- Like eosinophils
One must take note that the primary symptom of sinusitis is pain in the facial area. It can be in your forehead, between the eyes, at the top of your jaw and cheeks, and even your ears.
The patient may also feel these other symptoms:
- Stuffy nose
- Loss of the ability to taste
- Runny Nose
- Bad Breath
- Tenderness in some areas of the face, such as the ones mentioned above
- Sore Throat
You experience symptoms similar to cold such as difficulty to breathe through the nose, throbbing, pain and tenderness in the face, and a runny nose with a greenish discharge. These symptoms last for 10 to 14 days. This is may happen a week or so after having the common cold but it may also be caused by allergies or bacterial infections. Acute sinusitis typically lasts 4 weeks or less. One may feel severe pain in the facial area as well.
You experience symptoms that last from four to eight weeks, although some may have the symptoms for up to three months. It is most commonly connected with hay fever or bacterial infections.
Chronic sinusitis occurs when you experience symptoms that last for many weeks. By many, we mean at least eight weeks or more. These are not as severe as acute sinusitis. It is more commonly caused by allergies or inborn sinusitis structure problems. You may feel mild fever, headache, lessened sense of smell, bad breath and facial pain.
If you suspect that you have sinusitis, go to a doctor for professional diagnosis. He or she will ask you a few questions and examine you. He will look for the symptoms mentioned above and prescribe suitable medication for you. If the illness has not responded to the treatment, then a CT or MRI scan as well as a rhinoscopy or endoscopy may be requested by the doctor to see if there are any growths or blockings in your sinuses.
After the diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to combat the infection. You will take it for 3-28 days, depending on the severity of the case. Another medication they can prescribe is antihistamine to alleviate the allergy symptoms, as well as nasal decongestant sprays for three to four days to shrink the infected sinuses and ease the mucus flow. Warning though, as excessive use of nasal decongestant sprays may result to dependency. To prevent this, some doctors prefer to prescribe Topical Nasal Corticostroids as these also help prevent the swelling of the sinuses and nasal passages. These can be used over a long period of time without creating a dependency on the medication. If all else fails, surgery may be recommended by doctors. The surgeon will remove any growth and open any closed passages.
Develop a healthy lifestyle and practice good hygiene to prevent colds or allergic reactions which may develop into sinusitis. Get a flu shot and take antihistamine as soon as you develop allergies or colds.
Do not treat your sniffles as a minor case. If you think you need to go to the doctor, do so to avoid further complications.