Sinusitis is the inflammation of the tissues in your nasal passages and sinuses. The sinuses are hollow areas within the head between the bones of the eyes, behind the cheekbones, and in your forehead. The tissues that line these spaces are responsible for making mucus that keep the nose and nasal passages moist. This moisture protects the airways from allergens and pollutants by trapping and allowing them to be wafted up by the action of hair-like linings in the air passages.
If bacteria or allergens are present in the air passages it can cause the overproduction of mucus in the airways, causing your sinuses to be blocked. If this blockage persists, and the mucus thickens, it might encourage bacteria to thrive, as well as other pathogens to take hold, beginning an infection. This infection is usually viral, and goes away within a week or two without treatment. However, if the infection persists for longer, it may be a bacterial infection and will require treatment. We recommend these Best ENT specialist in Lahore, for those of you that do not have a physician in that city and would like a consultation.
If your symptoms last for longer than 3 months or so, you should reach out to a doctor as soon as possible, as this means you likely have chronic sinusitis, which can lead to some terrible complications.
The symptoms of sinusitis are very common to those of a common cold, making it hard to differentiate the two. These include:
- Temporary loss of smell
- Runny or blocked nose, with thick discoloured mucus potentially
- Postnasal drainage
- Pain or tenderness around the eyes, cheeks and forehead
Some symptoms that might make discerning an infection easier include:
- A high fever of above 102°F
- Cold symptoms that persist longer than 14 days
- A cough that last longer than 10 days
Though anyone can develop a sinus infection, there are certain factors and conditions that put you at greater risk of developing sinusitis. These include:
- A nasal bone spur, which is a growth in the nose
- nasal polyps, which are noncancerous growths in the nasal mucosal linings of the nose
- a history of allergic reactions
- a weakened immune system, putting you at greater risk of developing an infection
- consumption of tobacco and other inhaled drugs
- a recent upper respiratory tract infection
- a deviated nasal septum
- cystic fibrosis, which aggravates the production of mucus in the body, causing thick mucus to build-up
- dental infections
- recent contact with fungi like mold
Though there are things you can do to treat a sinus infection directly, most of the time you will only need to reduce the severity of other symptoms like congestion and pain. Congestion is one of the primary symptoms of sinus infections, and can be reduced with the help of a warm compress, and a nasal saline rinse to remove the excess mucus build-up. You can help thin the mucus out by inhaling steam a few times a day, and staying very hydrated. Over-the-counter medication like guaifenesin can also help thin out mucus.
For pain management one can use any over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
If your symptoms don’t improve within a few weeks, you may have a bacterial infection that will require a strict regiment of antibiotics. The last resort is the surgical option, targeting the underlying conditions that aggravate the sinusitis, like deviated septums. Before you opt for these, we recommend you consult a professional. Here are some of the Best ENT specialist in Islamabad, if you live in that city.