What is Chronic Sinusitis?
Chronic Sinusitis refers to persistent inflammation or swelling of tissues lining the sinuses. When the sinuses, normally full of air, get blocked and fill up with fluid, it can result in the accumulation of viruses, bacteria or fungi, leading to a sinus infection.
What are its causes and concerns?
Some typical causes of sinus blockages are common cold, swelling of the nasal linings due to allergic Rhinitis, small growths within the nasal passages (nasal polyps) or deviation in the nasal cavity. While infections and smoking are the most frequent contributors to chronic Sinusitis in adults, environmental factors like
- infectious illnesses,
- drinking from bottles while lying down and
- second-hand smoke
commonly lead to Sinusitis in children.
Sinusitis is a serious condition, seen to be having the following types:
- Chronic Sinusitis: Symptoms persist for eight weeks or perhaps longer.
- Acute Sinusitis: Cold-like symptoms develop suddenly.
- Sub-acute Sinusitis: Sinus inflammation lasts from four to eight weeks.
- Recurrent Sinusitis: Several attacks of Sinusitis occur during the course of a single year.
What are its symptoms?
Symptoms of the chronic form of Sinusitis may linger for at least eight weeks. These are:
- Swelling of the mucous membranes in the nose
- Yellow or green drainage
- Facial pain that worsens with bending
- Visual disturbances
- Loss of smell
- Bad breath
- Stuffy nose
What are the solutions and treatment options?
If you observe these signs and symptoms, you should consult an allergy specialist, who will ask you about your symptoms and perform a detailed physical examination. Tests might be conducted to diagnose your Sinusitis, which could include blood work, X-rays, allergy testing, CT scans of the sinuses, mucosal cultures and endoscopy.
It is crucial to determine the underlying cause and address any contributing factors and potential triggers to treat chronic Sinusitis correctly. Your doctor may prescribe nasal sprays or oral decongestant medication to decrease your nasal congestion and oral steroids to reduce nasal inflammation (in case of episodes of severe chronic Sinusitis). Antibiotic therapy, antihistamines and surgery are some other treatment options.
Apart from these, chronic Sinusitis may at times also be treated by some home remedies:
- Warm compresses (application to the nose/sinuses to relieve pain)
- Nasal saline drops (relieve congestion)
- A vapouriser or humidifier (inhale steam or cool mist)
- Non-prescription nasal decongestant sprays (use with caution)
- Increase fluid intake (water thins nasal secretions)
Attempts to alleviate chronic Sinusitis symptoms may warrant making certain lifestyle changes, like giving up smoking and avoiding other things that may trigger symptoms.
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