Sinusitis is an inflammation of the tissue that lines the nasal passages. The sinuses are empty cavities, filled with air. When they become inflamed, they swell, and block the fluid from the sinus from draining into the nose and throat and fill up with liquid. The germs multiply afterwards, and an infection can occur.
The conditions that may cause sinus blockage include:
- Allergic rhinitis;
- Nasal polyps;
- Septum deviation.
Types of sinusitis
Acute sinusitis – usually starts with flu-like symptoms, such as clogged nose and head or eye pain. Symptoms start suddenly and last for two to four weeks.
Chronic sinusitis – in this case it is a recurrent sinusitis or whose manifestations last longer than six weeks. When sinusitis does not respond to treatment or is not treated at all, it evolves into chronic sinusitis.
Sinusitis is one of the most common diseases among people, regardless of age, with the most exposed category being children.
Viruses. Most sinus infections begin with a cold caused by a virus that can cause inflammation of the sinus tissue. Symptoms should begin to improve after about a week.
Allergies. Because the inflammation can block the nasal passages, preventing draining, allergies are often associated with sinus infections. People prone to allergies such as mites or molds may frequently experience sinusitis episodes.
Bacteria. If a cold does not pass in 10 to 15 days, it might be caused by bacteria. Bacterial infections rarely cause sinus infections, but almost always causes complications, or secondary infections. In these cases, it is most likely to be either Streptococcus pneumoniae or Haemophilus influenzae.
Polyps. There are small benign formations that develop from nasal or sinus tissue and can cause blockage of sinus cavities, preventing leakage of mucus and leading to infection. They can also restrict breathing passages, thus triggering headaches.
Swimming. Persons susceptible to sinus infections or congestion should avoid long contact with the chlorinated water in pools because chlorine can irritate nasal and sinus infections.
- Facial pain – especially above the eyebrows, around and behind the eyes;
- Running nose;
- Sensation of pressure in the sinus area;
- Abundant, translucent or yellow-green nasal secretions;
- Loss of smell
- Mild fever;
- Bad breath;
In the case of mild sinusitis, the doctor may recommend salt-based nose decongestants. They should not be used for more than three days.
If sinusitis is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not help. However, if sinusitis is caused by bacteria, your doctor may recommend antibiotic treatment for at least 10 days. Symptoms will disappear once the treatment is complete.