Sinus and Allergy

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Symptoms


Acute sinusitis is usually due to the common cold or a mild infection and usually goes away within 10 days. Some people with acute sinusitis develop an infection that requires antibiotics.

Chronic sinusitis usually persists longer than 10 days, but the symptoms are the same. Those include:

  • pain and pressure above the eyes, along the sides of the nose, and behind the cheeks
  • green or yellow mucous draining from the nose
  • feeling congested
  • pain in the nose or throat
  • fever
  • difficulty sleeping due to congestion
  • frequent sneezing

Physcial exam

What is the medical definition of sinus infection and sinusitis?

      -Sinus infection or sinusitis, is a common condition that refers to inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages.

What are the early signs and symptoms of a sinus infection or sinusitis?

      -The early symptoms of sinusitis include Runny or stuffy nose, postnasal drip, earache, pain or pressure around the eyes or cheekbones, facial swelling, dizziness, headache, sore throat, fever, bad breath, tooth pain or sensitive, fatigue, cough, loss of sense of smell, hearing loss, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

How do I know if I have a sinus infection?

      -Sinus infections and sinusitis is diagnosed a history of the symptoms and perform a physical exam. Tests may include CT scans and ultrasound. Acute sinusitis usually lasts fewer than eight weeks or occurs no more than three times per year, with each episode lasting no longer than 10 days. Chronic sinusitis lasts longer than eight weeks or occurs more than four times per year, with symptoms usually lasting more than 20 days. Sinusitis can be caused by viruses, allergens, pollutants, bacteria, and fungi.

How do I get rid of a sinus infection?      

      -Home remedies to help relieve symptoms of a sinus infection (sinusitis) you should drink plenty of water, inhale steam and use a humidifier, take hot, steamy showers, use mentholated preparations such as Vicks Vapor Rub, and iIrrigate the sinuses once or twice a day using a Neti pot or Sterile Saline Mist Spray. Use only distilled water in your Neti-Pot. Do not use tap water in a Neti-Pot because it has caused serious infections. Over-the-counter (OTC) expectorants, decongestants, cough suppressants, nasal steroid sprays, and pain relievers can help alleviate symptoms. Prescription medications used for the treatment of sinusitis include intranasal or oral steroids. Antibiotics may be prescribed to help prevent complications, relieve symptoms, and reduce the risk of chronic sinusitis. Sinus surgery is a last resort for those who do not respond to medications.

How to prevent a sinus infection?

      -Prevention of a sinus infection depends upon its cause, but the prognosis for sinus infections is usually good when treated promptly. Those with chronic sinusitis may have recurring bouts if there are structural or allergic causes.
Anatomy of the Sinuses
      -The human skull contains four major pairs of hollow air-filled cavities called sinuses. These are connected to the space between the nostrils and the nasal passage (behind your nose). Sinuses help insulate the skull, reduce its weight, and allow the voice to resonate within it. The four major pairs of sinuses are the: Frontal sinuses (in the forehead) Maxillary sinuses (behind the cheek bones) Ethmoid sinuses (between the eyes)Sphenoid sinuses (behind the eyes) The sinuses contain defenses against viruses and bacteria (germs). The sinuses are covered with a mucous layer and cells that contain tiny hairs on their surface (cilia) that help trap and propel bacteria and pollutants outward. 

Time Frame

       -Acute sinusitis typically lasts less than eight weeks or occurs no more than three times per year with each episode lasting no longer than 10 days. Medications are generally effective against acute sinusitis. Successful treatment counteracts damage done to the mucous lining of the sinuses and surrounding bone of the skull. Chronic or recurring sinusitis lasts longer than eight weeks or occurs more than four times per year, with symptoms usually lasting more than 20 days.
What Is a Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)?
       -Sinus infection, or sinusitis, is an inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages. A sinus infection can cause a headache or pressure in the eyes, nose, cheek area, or on one side of the head. A person with a sinus infection may also have a cough, sore throat, fever, bad breath, and nasal congestion with thick nasal secretions. Sinusitis is a common condition categorized as acute (sudden onset) or chronic (long term, the most common type).
Common Symptoms and Signs of Sinus Infections (Sinusitis)
      -Signs and symptoms of sinus infections depend upon the sinuses that are affected, and whether the sinus infection is acute or chronic. Sinus Infections may present with with chronic stuffy nose or congestion.  Runny nose (mucus may be yellowish or greenish in color). Postnasal drip, tooth discomfort or pain, loss of sense of smell. ear pain, pressure, or fullness, headache, bad breath, facial pain, tenderness, or pressure in the area of the sinuses, fever, fatigue, cough, sore throat. 

Acute Sinusitis Symptoms

       -Nasal congestion with discharge, nasal drainage that may be clear or whitish in color, postnasal drip (mucus drips down the throat behind the nose) often accompanied by a sore throat, pain across the cheekbone, under or around the eye, or around the upper teeth, ear pain or earache, headache in the temple or surrounding or behind the eye, pain or pressure symptoms are worse when coughing or straining. Fever is common. Pain or pressure on one or both sides of the face. Facial swelling, Dizziness, Itchy throat, Sneezing

Chronic Sinusitis Symptoms

      -Chronic sinusitis may have many of the same symptoms as acute sinusitis, but the symptoms last longer or are more severe. In addition, people with chronic sinusitis may also experience multiple symptoms. For example, pain that is worse in the late morning or when wearing glasses, pain and pressure in the face worsens when leaning forward, chronic sore throat and bad breath, chronic toothache or increased tooth sensitivity, increased facial discomfort throughout the day with increased cough at night
How Long Do Sinus Infections or Sinusitis Last?
     -Sinusitis or sinus infections usually clear up if treated early and appropriately. Aside from those who develop complications, the outlook for acute sinusitis is good. People may develop chronic sinusitis or have recurrent attacks of acute sinusitis if they have allergic or structural causes for their sinusitis.
What Causes Sinus Infections and Sinusitis?
      -Causes of Acute Sinus Infections. Acute sinusitis usually follows a viral infection in the upper respiratory tract, but allergy causing substances (allergens) or pollutants may also trigger acute sinusitis. A Viral infection damages the cells of the sinus lining, leading to inflammation. The lining thickens, obstructing the nasal passage. This passage connects to the sinuses. The obstruction disrupts the process that removes bacteria normally present in the nasal passages, and the bacteria begin to multiply and invade the lining of the sinus. This causes the symptoms of sinus infection. Allergens and pollutants produce a similar effect.  Bacteria that normally cause acute sinusitis are: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis. These microorganisms, along with Staphylococcus aureus and some anaerobes (bacteria that live without oxygen), are involved in chronic sinusitis. 

Causes of Chronic Sinus Infections

       -Chronic sinus infections are caused by viruses, bacteria, allergens, pollutants, and fungal infections, especially people with diseases that weaken the immune system, for example, HIV/AIDS, leukemia and other cancers, and diabetes.Medications that are designed to modify the immune system may increase the risk of developing sinus infections.
When Should I Call a Doctor for a Sinus Infection or Sinusitis?  

       -Call a doctor when if you have pain or pressure in the upper face accompanied by: Nasal congestion or discharge, postnasal drip (chronic sinusitis), fever, ongoing bad breath unrelated to dental problems. People who have facial pain, headaches, and fever may indicate a sinus infection. Fever can be a symptom of a sinus infection or a cold. Simple nasal congestion with a low-grade fever and a runny nose probably indicates a cold and may not call for medications or antibiotics. If left undiagnosed and untreated complications of sinusitis can occur that may lead to severe medical problems and possibly death. 

Complications of Sinusitis

        -If you have the following symptoms, you may have a medical emergency and should seek immediate evaluation in a hospital's emergency department: Headache, fever, and soft tissue swelling over the forehead (frontal sinus) may indicate an infection of the frontal bone, called Pott's puffy tumor or osteomyelitis. Usually, this complication is limited to children. Ethmoid sinusitis can cause infection of the eye socket. The eyelid may swell and become droopy. Vision changes are rare but are signs of serious complications. Fever and severe illness are usually present. With this infection, you may lose the ability to move an eye, and permanent blindness may result. Symptoms of sinusitis associated with pain when moving the eye, redness of the eyes or face, or swelling around the eye are an emergency and should be evaluated immediately. Ethmoid or frontal sinusitis can cause a blood clot in the sinus area around the front and top of the face. Symptoms may be similar to those of an eye socket infection with the addition of a pupil that is larger than usual (dilated). Usually, ethmoid or frontal sinusitis affects both sides of the face. If you experiences personality changes, headache, neck stiffness, high fever, altered consciousness, visual problems, seizures, or rash on the body, infection may have spread to the brain or the lining tissues of the brain (meningitis). This is a severe illness and a medical emergency. Coma and lead to death.

  • What Tests Diagnose Sinus Infections and Sinusitis?
          -The diagnosis of a sinus infection is made based on a medical history assessment and a physical examination. Adequately distinguishing sinusitis from a simple upper respiratory infection or a common cold is important. Usually, sinusitis caused by bacteria will need antibiotic treatment to cure the infection. Upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) and colds are viral illnesses so antibiotics have no benefit, and it may cause antibiotic resistance, which limits your body's ability to cure future infections. CT scan: In most cases, diagnosing acute sinusitis requires no testing. When testing is indicated, a CT scan will clearly depict all the paranasal sinuses, the nasal passages, and the surrounding structures. A CT scan may indicate a sinus infection if any of these conditions is present:Air-fluid levels in one or more sinuses, total blockage in one or more sinuses, thickening of the inner lining (mucosa). The sinuses mucosal thickening can occur in people without symptoms of sinusitis. CT scan findings must be correlated with a person's symptoms and physical examination findings to diagnose a sinus infection. Ultrasound: Another noninvasive diagnostic tool is ultrasound. The procedure is fast, reliable, and less expensive than a CT scan, although the results are not as detailed. If your symptoms symptoms persist despite therapy, you may need a referral to an Otolaryngologist or ENT (a specialist that treats ear, nose, and throat problems). The doctor may: Visualize the nasal passages and the connection to the sinuses with a nasopharyngoscope, or sino-nasal endoscope. This is a fiberoptic, flexible or rigid tube that the doctor inserts through the nose and enables the doctor to view the nasal passageways and see if the sinuses are open and draining correctly. Anatomical causes of breathing difficulties may be found, for example: A deviated nasal septum
    Nasal polyps, enlarged adenoids and tonsils. Abnormalities within the nasal cavities and passageways; the sinuses are drained to test for bacteria, viruses, and fungal infections. However, this test is more invasive. During the procedure, the doctor inserts a needle into the sinus through skin (or gum) and bone to attempt to withdraw fluid, which is then can be sent to the lab to test for the cause of the infection. Usually, your doctor will have the test results in less than two days. You may be given antibiotics to treat the infection, and If necessary, alleviate discomfort with local anesthesia (you are awake for this procedure). Rarely, draining the sinuses is used because a CT scan may all that is necessary to diagnose the cause of sinus infections and sinusitis.

Find out more

Display their FAQs

  • Treatment for chronic sinusitis depends on the underlying cause.
  • People with allergies and asthma may be more vulnerable to chronic sinusitis.
  • Some home remedies can prevent chronic sinusitis, or prevent it from getting worse.
  • Antibiotics: Although doctors still disagree about the role of antibiotics as a treatment for chronic sinusitis, some people may find that amoxicillin with potassium clavulanate can help. Sometimes, doctors may prescribe other antibiotics.
  • Nasal corticosteroids: These steroid drugs can help the body heal, reduce inflammation, and provide some relief from symptoms. Some people experience side effects with steroids, so it is essential to talk to a doctor about the benefits and risks.
  • Surgery: Some people with chronic sinusitis may need surgery to clean their sinuses. This can sometimes be achieved with a balloon dilation, which takes place in the doctor's office. If this is unsuccessful, then the sinuses may need to be removed.
  • Nasal irrigation: This is a non-prescription treatment to clear out the sinuses. Saline sprays, neti pots, and other devices that flush the sinuses with water can help clear out any infection and reduce irritation.