Sinus Infection Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Sinus Infection Symptoms, Causes and Treatments There are 4 sinuses in our face, which form a connected system of hollow cavities in the skull. These cavities are filled with air and lined with soft, pink colored tissue called mucosa.

Sinusitis is caused with swelling or inflammation of the tissue lining the sinuses. It occurs when the sinuses get blocked due to infection caused by fluid, or growth of germs (viruses, bacteria and fungi).

Causes of Sinus Infection

Sinus blockage can occur with common cold, swelling of the lining of the nose (allergic rhinitis), small growths in the lining of the nose (nasal polyps) or a shift in the nasal cavity (deviated septum).

Types of Sinus Infection

The different types of sinusitis include:

• Acute: Common-cold like symptoms occur suddenly, such as stuffy and runny nose, pain in face staying more than 2 weeks, which lasts about a month.
• Subacute: Inflammation lasting 1-2 months.
• Chronic: Sinus inflammation symptoms lasting 2 months or more.
• Recurrent: Recurring sinusitis attacks in a year.

Diagnosis of Sinus Infection

• Physical examination: Doctor checks the nose by tapping over the sinuses on the face to check for pain.
• Sinus X-ray: Simple X-ray to show problems of the bones around the sinuses.
• Computed tomography (CT scan): Provides detailed images of the sinuses, helpful to detect chronic condition of sinusitis.
• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Provides very detailed images of the sinuses.
• Endoscopy (rhinoscopy): A flexible tube with camera is used to examine the insides of the sinuses and nose.
• Sinus culture: Examination of mucus sample.
• Test for allergy

Sinus Infection Treatment

1. Decongestant: Reduces sinus congestion, mucus production and postnasal drip.
2. Antibiotics: Anti-bacterial oral medicines to treat bacterial sinusitis.
3. Nasal steroid spray: Uses nasal steroids to reduce the symptoms in allergic rhinitis. Such medications relieve tissue swelling and prevent regrowth of nasal polyps after sinus surgery.
4. Nasal saline spray: Salt water nasal spray to break up dried mucus.
5. Nasal washes: Rinsing of the mucous from the sinuses and nasal cavities.
6. Antihistamines: Oral histamine blockers such as Benadryl to reduce the sinus and nasal symptoms arising from allergic rhinitis.
7. Surgery: This is usually needed to open an obstruction or remove growths.


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