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January 15, 2024

Sinus infection, often known as sinusitis, is an inflammation or swelling of the sinus tissue. Sinuses are hollow air holes located within the bones that surround the nose. Germs can thrive and cause an infection when these gaps are blocked and filled with fluid. 

Sinus infections can be acute (lasting a short time) or chronic (lasting a long time). Nasal congestion, face pain or pressure, headache, and a runny or stuffy nose are all common symptoms. 

Sinus infections are frequently caused by bacteria, viruses, or allergies. Rest, fluids, decongestants, and, in some situations, antibiotics may be used to treat the condition. Seeking medical advice is critical for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is a swelling or inflammation of the tissue lining your sinuses. Sinuses are hollow structures inside your face that ordinarily contain air. 

Bacterial, viral infections, and allergies can cause them to become irritated. This causes the sinuses to get clogged and filled with fluid. As a result, those with sinus infection may feel facial discomfort and pain, nasal congestion (a stuffy nose), and other symptoms.

Sinusitis is also known as rhinosinusitis.

What are the different types of sinusitis?

Sinusitis is classified based on its duration (acute, subacute, chronic, or recurring) and its source (bacteria, virus, or fungus).

Based on duration

·      Acute sinusitis: It often last shorter than four weeks and are often caused by viruses such as the common cold. Symptoms may include nasal congestion, impaired sense of smell, drainage and facial pain/pressure.

·      Subacute sinusitis lasts four to twelve weeks.

·      Chronic sinusitis: Symptoms can last at least 12 weeks. Germs are typically to blame.

·      Recurrent acute sinusitis: Symptoms return four or more times in a year. Symptoms may last fewer than two weeks each time.

Based on source

·      Bacterial sinusitis: Most cases of acute sinusitis result from bacterial or viral infections. Antibacterial medications are often needed to clear the infection. This condition typically lasts more than 10 days but less than a few weeks.

·      Viral sinusitis: Viral sinusitis is common and may be mistaken for bacterial sinusitis. Unlike bacterial infections, viral sinusitis can’t be treated with antibacterial medications. 

It typically heals on its own with rest and at-home care. If symptoms persist for over 10 days, it’s more likely to be a bacterial infection.

·      Fungal sinusitis: While the majority of sinus infections are caused by a viral or bacterial infection, fungal infections can also occur. These infections can be serious in rare situations and spread to other parts of the body. 

In most cases, however, the infection remains in the sinuses and can be treated by an ear, nose, and throat doctor.

What are the symptoms of sinus infection?

Common sinus infection symptoms include:

·      Thick yellow or green mucus in the nose

·      Mucus pouring down your neck (postnasal drip)

·      Facial pressure (especially around the nose, eyes, and brow). When you move your head or bend over, this may worsen.

·      A unpleasant taste in your mouth or bad breath (halitosis).

·      Nose congestion

·      Tiredness

·      You may feel pressure or pain in your teeth.

·      Fever

·      Headache

·      Ear discomfort or pressure

·      Cough

What is the treatment for sinusitis?

There are numerous sinusitis treatment available, depending on your symptoms and how long you’ve had them. At home, you can treat a sinus infection with:

·      Decongestants

·      Drinking plenty of water.

·      Cold and allergy drugs sold over-the-counter (OTC).

·      Rinses with saline in the nose.

If sinusitis symptoms do not improve after 10 days, your doctor may prescribe:

·      Decongestants, either oral or topical

·      Antibiotics

·      Intranasal steroid sprays on prescription. (Use nonprescription sprays or drops for no more than three to five days; they may worsen congestion.)

For chronic sinusitis, treatment options include:

·      Topical antihistamine sprays or pills

·      Steroid sprays 

·      Surgery for polyps, structural problems or fungal infections.

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