If you have nasal congestion along with thick nasal discharge and decreased sensation to smell, you may have rhinosinusitis, commonly referred to as sinusitis.
Filled with mucus, your sinuses are hollow cavities within your cheekbones, around your eyes, and behind your nose. Mucus helps to warm, moisten and filter the air you breathe.
Inflammation of sinuses may occur if there is a blockage in the mucus drainage due to infection, allergies, and chemical or particulate irritation of the sinuses. Post nasal drip, mucus overproduction from sinusitis that flows to the throat and irritates throat tissue, can be seen.
What are the various types of Sinusitis?
When sinusitis symptoms last less than four weeks, it is referred to as an acute sinusitis. Most cases begin as a common cold. Symptoms often go away within a week to 10 days.
Chronic sinusitis, also referred to as chronic rhinosinusitis, is often diagnosed when symptoms have gone on for more than 12 weeks, despite medical treatment.
Allergies cause chronic inflammation of the sinus and mucus linings, which may prevent the usual clearance of bacteria from the sinus cavity and hence may increase the chances of developing secondary bacterial sinusitis.
Pollens are seasonal allergens. Inflammation in the sinuses caused only during a particular season due to specific allergens is known as seasonal sinusitis.
Molds, dust mites, and pet dander can cause symptoms year-round. The type of sinus inflammation caused by these allergens is referred to as Perennial sinusitis.
Stagnated mucus provides an environment for bacteria, viruses and fungus, to grow within the sinus cavities. In addition, the microbes themselves can initiate and exacerbate sinus blockage, and may cause infected sinusitis.
Irritants and allergies cause non-infectious sinusitis.
What can be done to treat these nasal allergies?
- Acute sinus bacterial infection usually is treated with antibiotics aimed at treating the most common bacteria known to cause sinus infection.
- In allergic sinusitis, treating allergies with shots or reducing and avoiding exposure to allergens like animal dander or mold can lessen the occurrence of chronic sinusitis.
- Early treatment of allergic sinusitis may prevent secondary bacterial sinus infections.
- The treatment of chronic forms of sinus infection requires longer courses of medications, such as Augmentin, and may require a sinus drainage procedure.
- A topical nasal steroid spray will help reduce swelling in the allergic individual
- Structural issues, such as a deviated septum, may need surgery. Surgery may also be advised if there are polyps, or if the sinusitis has resisted all other treatments.
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is the main procedure used for treatment, but other surgeries may be required as other parts of the nose are often affected.