The sinuses are hollow cavities that surround the cheekbones, eyes and behind the nose. They contain mucus, which helps filter the air we breathe. Sinusitis is a condition that occurs when the sinuses become inflamed and fill with fluids that allow germs or infection to form. Those who smoke, fly frequently, scuba dive, swim often, have asthma, or a weakened immune system are more susceptible to Sinusitis.
Different types of Sinusitis can cause varying degrees of discomfort. Those types are acute, chronic, and recurrent.
Acute sinusitis may occur during a cold, but it can be caused by something noninfectious as well. Sinusitis is acute if the symptoms last no longer than four weeks. Most cases include minor short-term infections, including the common cold. Rarely, a bacterial infection may develop. For most people, symptoms subside within a week to 10 days.
If any of the above symptoms last for more than 12 weeks, it is referred to as chronic sinusitis. This condition intervenes with drainage and also causes mucus buildup. Common causes may include nasal polyps, an abnormal growth inside the nose that creates a blockage, or a deviated nasal septum.
A rarer condition, recurrent sinusitis occurs sporadically throughout the year, usually presenting four or more times per year with seven days duration.
Sinusitis usually coincides with the common cold or a flu. Other factors may place one at a greater risk for developing sinusitis, including:
- A nasal passage abnormality
- Aspirin sensitivity
- An immune system disorder
- Hay fever
- Regular exposure to pollutants
Treatments are available for all types of sinusitis. Home remedies, such as nasal sprays or saline rinses, can be purchased over-the-counter for acute sinusitis symptoms.
If sinusitis has lasted longer than 6 weeks and home-remedies have had little effect, it may be time to visit a doctor. Antibiotics can be used to treat the bacterial infections that may have caused your sinusitis. Occasionally, steroids are used to help decrease inflammation as well.
If you or your child are suffering from chronic or recurrent sinusitis, Contact Northeast Allergy, Asthma & Immunology today to find the best possible treatment plan.