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Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)

 

-Symptoms and Causes

-Prevention and Treatment

-What is sinusitis? 

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the tissue (sinus) that lines the sinuses. The symptoms of sinusitis can include pain, a stuffy or runny nose, pressure in your face, head and neck, and feeling generally unwell. Sinusitis typically occurs when you have an infection in your upper respiratory tract (nose or throat).

 

Sinus Infection

-What causes sinusitis?

There are many different causes for chronic sinusitis including long-term allergies and some types of bacteria. Some medications can also cause inflammation of the nasal passages or increase pressure within them causing pain. There is still much to be learned about what causes sinusitis and its long-term effects.

-What are the symptoms?

Many people with chronic sinusitis experience pain and tenderness of the eyes, face, head, or neck. Other symptoms of sinusitis include a runny nose, nasal congestion, postnasal drip (discharge that flows down your throat), headache or earache in the affected areas. The intensity of these symptoms varies according to the severity of the patient’s condition and may fluctuate on an almost daily basis. Patients may also experience fatigue, fever, chills and trouble breathing through their nose from time to time.

-What is the prognosis?

The prognosis for those with chronic sinusitis is unknown. Most cases will improve and be resolved within a few weeks to several months without medical treatment. Some patients may experience long term discomfort due to damage to the nasal passages.

[1] The cure for chronic sinusitis has not been fully understood, but many treatments have been suggested. Most cases are treated with antibiotics, surgery, and/or decongestants. In some instances chronic sinusitis can be caused by allergies and will not clear up without treatment.

 

-Key Points

-The nose is lined with a mucus membrane which is inhaled through the nostrils, this allows clean oxygen to pass into the lungs keeping them healthy. This mucus membrane also helps to filter any bacteria or viruses in the air before it is breathed in. A build up of thick mucus can block the nose and stop fresh air from being breathed in, this is called nasal congestion or sinusitis.

[2] The term sinus refers to a hollow cavity inside our head behind our nose. There are air-filled cavities around the nose which connect to these sinuses. These sinuses are lined with mucus membrane and act like a filter for bacteria, dust and viruses. When this lining is assaulted by allergies or infection the membranes become swollen, inflamed and painful. This condition is called sinusitis.

 

Sinusitis can cause a range of symptoms from simple nasal congestion to severe pain in the face, head or neck. It can also release inflammatory compounds that travel into the bloodstream thereby causing inflammation throughout the body. It is estimated that ten percent of people experience acute sinusitis each year while it affects twenty percent of those over 40 years old on average. Patients who have chronic sinusitis, lasting at least three months, annually affect twenty percent of the population.

[3] The most common cause of sinusitis is an infection. The most common organism that causes sinusitis is Streptococcus pneumoniae, accounting for around seventy percent of infections. This bacteria can be spread by droplets from coughs and sneezes in small rooms or crowded areas. Another common cause for sinusitis is allergic rhinitis (hay fever) which affects up to twenty-five percent of patients with allergies. Another cause for sinusitis is a viral or fungal infection. Some patients have allergies that are caused by an immune system attack from a foreign protein. This protein is not always present in the body causing problems for those who have been exposed to it. A fungus may be the cause of sinusitis and would cause a discharge which may look like snot.

-Many people do not realize that sinus pain can be caused by many other conditions, conditions that may even validate the need for surgery. Sinuses are air-filled structures located behind the nose and below both ears, that act as filters and keep dust out of the lungs, cleanse them and flow bad smells out of the body, they also take part in breathing by sending air through tubes located around the nose. The nose is also involved in smelling. All of these functions are impaired when sinuses become blocked and/or they become infected.

 

The pain produced in the sinuses can be quite uncomfortable and unbearable, especially when it affects the frontal region of the head, which is why many people think it originates in their forehead. Although this may be true because there are nerves that connect the sinus cavity to the forehead, this area is not actually

involved in what gives us pain when we suffer from sinusitis.

 

The symptoms of sinusitis are usually the same and consist of pain, pressure, etc. in the nose, a stuffy or runny nose and some congestion may also accompany the condition. However, some people experience these symptoms only occasionally.

The symptoms that may occur with sinusitis include:

-Headache

-Earache

-Nose bleeds

-Itchy or sore eyes

-Asthma attacks or wheezing      A blocked nose is one of the most common sinus problems that patients experience. It is not uncommon to have blocked noses because we are not always aware when it happens. In general, the breathing through our nose is not as efficient as breathing through our mouth. This is because we are born with more nasal tissue than oral cavity, which makes it difficult for the air to move freely inside.

 

The swollen and inflamed sinuses can block the blood circulation in the head, making it impossible for some parts of the brain to get enough oxygen, which commonly results in headaches.

A severe sinus infection can also cause symptoms such as fever and chills and decrease appetite. On top of that, when a person has a cold or an infection in his sinuses he usually experiences coughing, sneezing and all kinds of nasal discharge that comes out through his nose (but also through his mouth).

In some cases, when the person has an allergy, he may also experience difficulty breathing through his nose and may suffer from chronic coughs.

 

There are some sinus symptoms that are not caused by infections. These include a feeling of pressure on the face, in the forehead and in the back of the head; there is also pain in these areas. If you have this type of pain you might be suffering from non-infectious inflammation of your sinuses. Sometimes people say they can feel their headaches getting worse because their noses are blocked.

Living healthy is the best way to prevent sinus infection. The easiest way to prevent sinus infection is by having a healthy immune system. Having a good immune system can actually make you less susceptible to bacterial infection and colds.

The first thing everyone should do when they start to notice any type of viral or bacterial infection in their body is seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you are self-medicating, have a medical history of an allergy or have had surgery in the face or head, you should take extra precautions when trying to prevent sinus infection.

 

Proper hygiene is one of the easiest and most effective preventative measures you can take. Our bodies produce mucus that acts as an important defense mechanism against pathogens, viruses or bacteria. Even a simple change in diet can improve the health of your sinuses because fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, which are an important natural defense against infection.

You should always wash your face after handling raw meat or poultry, have good oral care (clean teeth, use mouthwash), keep the nasal passage free of dust and pollen and avoid smoking. Sinus infections often get worse when you smoke or use snuff or chewing tobacco because they dry out your nasal passage more so than other types of smoke.

 

There are several different types of sinusitis that correspond to varying symptoms. While the cause is not always known, certain factors can lead to sinus inflammation.

These include the following:

 

 

Furthermore, since it is often a symptom of a problem elsewhere in the body, any medical condition that causes inflammation in the nose or sinuses may also lead to sinus infection. For example, kidney disease and high blood pressure produce similar symptoms in the head as do many viral infections (e.g., cold sores on lips).

It should be noted that there are some potential complications of having an untreated sinus infection.

These include the following:

 

Because of its importance to health, it is important to recognize and deal with an acute sinus infection right away when it is first presented in order to prevent the condition from developing into one of the chronic ones that are so frequently misdiagnosed or treated inadequately.

Even though a person experiencing sinusitis may initially start with headache, facial pain, cough or congestion, if these symptoms progress to pain in the ear (and/or difficulty hearing), eyelid swelling and/or difficulty breathing, then this should be addressed immediately by making an appointment with a physician. The longer a situation is allowed to go untreated, the greater the amount of damage that can be done within the bone that supports our sinuses.

 

The signs of sinus infection are different for everyone, but if you have a constant, persistent pain in your head that does not go away and lasts for more than a few days, then there is a good possibility that you may be suffering from a sinus infection. If this is the case, it would be wise to make an appointment with your physician.

In addition to using the above tips to help prevent sinus infection, it is also important to keep up on your medications and regularly visit your doctor for regular preventative testing if you have been exposed to airborne germs in any way during the most recent illness.

 

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