By Kevin P. Rosenbach, M.D. at CareOne HealthCare –
Fall is here and while some people are enjoying the colorful leaves and the crisp fall air, approximately 31 million Americans are suffering through the beginning of sinusitis season. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal sinuses, which are hollow cavities within the cheek bones around the eyes and behind the nose. Their primary function is to warm, moisten and filter air in the nasal cavity. Sinusitis usually is caused by inadequate draining of the sinus cavities due to allergies, infection or obstruction.
There are two types of sinusitis, acute sinusitis and chronic sinusitis. In both forms, nasal congestion produces swelling in the sinus cavity, obstructing drainage and causing mucus to stagnate, providing a breeding ground for infection. Acute sinusitis, in most cases, is caused by a bacterial infection and usually develops as a complication five to 10 days after the first symptoms of a viral respiratory infection, such as the common cold. People with allergies are predisposed to acute sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis is a recurring condition which also may be caused by bacterial infection, but more often is a chronic inflammatory disorder similar to bronchial asthma.
A sinus infection often is treated with a combination of
medications, such as an antibiotic to control bacterial infection, and a nasal steroid to reduce swelling. For people with chronic sinusitis due to allergies, immunotherapy, or “allergy shots,” may be prescribed to reduce their ongoing chance of
contracting the infection. Preventive measures, such as the use of nasal steroids or nasal saline irrigation during times of increased susceptibility, may help people with chronic sinusitis.
If you suspect you have sinusitis, consult an allergy and immunology specialist. CareOne HealthCare offers free allergy screenings and specialized testing daily.
Call us at 596.5560 to schedule an appointment today.
To help alleviate sinusitis symptoms:
• Take your medications as prescribed. Do not take more medicine to alleviate severe symptoms. If you are prescribed antibiotics, finish all of the antibiotic
• Breathe in steam.
• Use hot packs to alleviate facial pain.
• Increase fluid intake
• Use an over-the-counter sterile salt water nasal spray.
Common symptoms of sinusitis include:
• profuse, thick colored nasal drainage;
• bad tasting post-nasal drip;
• head congestion/headache;
• a plugged up nose;
• a feeling of facial swelling;
• constant tiredness; and/or occasionally a fever.