Sinusitis is a group of four paired air-filled spaces that surround the nasal cavity – it comprises of Frontal sinus, Maxillary sinus, Ethmoidal sinus or Sphenoidal sinus. Sinusitis is an inflammation, or swelling, of the tissue lining the sinuses. Sinuses are normally filled with air, but when sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, germs (bacteria, viruses and fungi) can grow and cause infection.
Sinusitis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of the tissues of the sinus cavities. These cavities exist in the skull. The tissues, when they function healthily, are filled with air, but when they get infected with germs, they get filled with fluid and get blocked. Sinusitis is much common in the winter season as the damp and cold air carries around infections and germs. In extreme cases, if left untreated can lead to brain abscess, bone infections or even meningitis.
Classifications of Sinusitis
- Acute sinusitis: A sudden onset of cold-like symptoms such as facial pain and runny/stuffy nose that does not go away after 8-10 days. It typically lasts 4 weeks or less. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection in the sinuses that result from an upper respiratory tract infection.
- Sub-Acute sinusitis: A sinus inflammation lasting 4 to 8 weeks.
- Chronic sinusitis: A condition characterized by sinus inflammation symptoms lasting 8 weeks or longer. It refers to long-term swelling and inflammation of the sinuses that may be caused by bacteria or a fungus. If someone is allergic to airborne allergens, such as mold, dust, and pollen, which trigger allergic rhinitis, they may develop chronic sinusitis.
- Recurrent sinusitis: Several attacks within a year. If you have asthma or other allergic diseases, you may have frequent episodes of chronic sinusitis.
- Swelling of the nose due to the common cold
- Nasal Polyps – they are small abnormal growths in the lining of the nose
- Deviated Septum – this is a shift in the nasal cavity of the nose
- Allergic Rhinitis – this is the swelling of the lining of the nose
- Blocked ducts
Risk factors of Sinusitis
- Frequent colds
- Upper respiratory tract infection (bacterial, viral, or fungal)
- Cigarette smoking (active or passive)
- Regular use of nasal decongestant sprays (for more than two to three days)
- Untreated hay fever or other allergies
- Structural abnormalities of the nose
- Nasal polyps (swellings in the linings of the nose or sinuses)
Symptoms of Sinusitis
- Pain, tenderness, swelling and pressure around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
- Facial pain, particularly when leaning forward
- Nasal stuffiness
- Nasal discharge
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
- Cough/congestion, often worse at night
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
Diagnosis of Sinusitis
During the physical exam, your doctor may check on the tenderness over the cheeks or forehead region of the sinusitis, swelling about the eyes and cheeks or check for inflammation in the nasal passages. Mostly diagnosis of sinusitis is done clinically by physical examination of the nasal passages; nasal endoscopy, imaging studies like MRI can be done in chronic cases unresponsive to initial conservative management. The culture of discharge may be done to find any superadded bacterial infection, and thus aid in the management of the same.
Ways to get relief from Sinusitis
- A warm compress can be used to relieve facial pain
- Use of nasal sprays and decongestants that can open blocked nasal passages
- Avail Ayurveda treatments such as Swedana and Shirodhara
- Inhalation of warm moist air or use of a humidifier