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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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Sinusitis

Sinusitis

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. Healthy breasts are full of air. But when they become blocked and filled with fluid, germs can grow and cause an infection.

The infection causes inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages, and this inflammation is called sinusitis.

Causes

The sinuses are small air sacs located behind the forehead, nose, cheekbones and between the eyes. The sinuses produce mucus, which is a thin, flowing liquid that protects the body by trapping and warding off germs.

Sometimes, bacteria or allergens can cause too much mucus to build up, which blocks the sinus openings.

Excess mucus is common if you have a cold or allergies. However, this mucus buildup can become thick and encourage bacteria and other germs to build up in the sinus cavity, leading to a bacterial or viral infection. Most sinus infections are viral and go away in one to two weeks without treatment.


Types

Acute sinusitis

Acute sinusitis has the shortest duration. A viral infection caused by the common cold can cause symptoms that typically last between 1 and 2 weeks. In case of bacterial infection, acute sinusitis can last up to 4 weeks. Seasonal allergies can also cause acute sinusitis.

Subacute sinusitis

Symptoms of subacute sinusitis can last up to 3 months. This condition commonly occurs with bacterial infections or seasonal allergies.

Chronic sinusitis

Symptoms of chronic sinusitis last more than 3 months. They are often less serious. Bacterial infection may be to blame in these cases. Additionally, chronic sinusitis commonly occurs along with persistent allergies or structural nasal problems.


Who are at risk?

Anyone can develop a sinus infection. However, some other health conditions and risk factors can increase your chances of developing one, such as:

  • a deviated nasal septum, when the wall of tissue that runs between the right and left nostrils shifts unevenly to one side

  • a nasal bone spur (a bony growth in the nose)

  • nasal polyps, usually noncancerous growths in the nose

  • a history of allergies

  • recent contact with mold

  • weak immune system

  • tobacco smoke

  • recent upper respiratory tract infection

  • cystic fibrosis, a condition that causes thick mucus to build up in the lungs and other mucous membrane linings

  • dental infection

  • air travel, which can expose you to a high concentration of germs


Symptoms

The symptoms of acute, subacute, and chronic sinus infections are similar. However, the severity and duration of symptoms vary.

The symptoms of sinusitis are similar to those of a common cold. They can include:

  • a decreased sense of smell

  • fever

  • stuffy or runny nose

  • sinus pressure headache

  • fatigue

  • cough


Diagnosis

To diagnose a sinus infection, your ENT doctor will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam, assessing pain from pressure such as pressing a finger against your head and cheeks. He will then perform an endoscopic examination of your nose to look for signs of inflammation.

In most cases, your doctor can diagnose a sinus infection based on your symptoms and the results of a physical exam.

However, in the case of a chronic infection, your doctor may recommend imaging tests to examine your nasal passages and sinuses. These tests can reveal blockages of mucus and any abnormal structures, such as polyps.

A CT scan, specifically, provides a 3-D image of your breasts. An MRI creates images of internal structures.

An allergy test identifies irritants that can cause an allergic reaction.


Conventional therapy

Nasal congestion is among the most common symptoms of a sinus infection. To help reduce the sensation of pain due to sinus pressure, it may help to apply a warm, damp cloth to your face and forehead several times a day. Saline nasal rinses can help clear sticky, thick mucus from your nose.

It is also important to drink water and juices to stay hydrated and thus help thin the mucus. The ENT doctor will prescribe a nasal spray, or if clinically indicated, an antibiotic. You will be able to send for a CT scan to delve deeper into the clinical picture or consider tests to determine any allergies and intervene on those.


In the case of chronic sinusitis that does not improve with time and medications, surgery to clean the sinuses, repair a deviated septum or remove any polyps.


Prevention

There is no surefire way to prevent sinusitis. But there are some things that might help.

Since sinus infections can develop after a cold, flu, or allergic reaction, a healthy lifestyle and reducing exposure to germs and allergens can help prevent an infection. Osteopathy can also help!

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