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Item ID: tp0041   Source ID: 2

Description: Sinus Infection

(Sinusitis)

Definition

Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinus cavities usually associated with the infection. The sinus cavities are air-filled spaces in the skull.

Acute sinusitis lasts for less than three weeks. Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when symptoms last for at least 3 months. You are considered to have recurrent sinusitis if you... More

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Sinus Infection

(Sinusitis)

Definition

Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinus cavities usually associated with the infection. The sinus cavities are air-filled spaces in the skull.

Acute sinusitis lasts for less than three weeks. Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when symptoms last for at least 3 months. You are considered to have recurrent sinusitis if you have repeated bouts of acute sinusitis.

Causes

Infectious sinusitis is caused by bacterial or fungal infection of the sinus cavities. The most common organisms to cause acute sinusitis include:

* Aspergillus fungi (primarily a cause of chronic sinusitis)
* Haemophilus inflenzae
* Moraxella catarrhalis
* Staphylococcus aureus
* Streptococcus pneumoniae

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for sinusitis include:

* Abnormalities of the facial bones or nasal passages, such as:
      o Cleft palate
      o Deviated septum
      o Large adenoids
      o Nasal polyps
* Allergies, particularly hay fever
* Certain chronic illnesses, including:
      o Cystic fibrosis
      o Kartagener's syndrome (a chronic lung disease)
      o Wegener's granulomatosis (chronic tissue inflammation and aggregates of cells in the nasal passages)
* Diabetes
* HIV infection
* Head injury or a medical condition requiring a tube inserted in the nose
* Other sources of indoor or outdoor air pollution
* Recent cold
* Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke

Symptoms

Symptoms of sinusitis may include:

* Bad breath
* Bad taste in your mouth
* Cough, often worse at night
* Decreased ability to smell
* Dental pain
* Ear pain, pressure or fullness
* Facial congestion or fullness
* Facial pain or pressure that increases when you bend over or press on the area
* Fatigue
* Fever
* Headache
* Nasal congestion
* Runny nose or post-nasal drip
* Thick, yellow or green mucus

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Sinusitis is usually diagnosed based on its symptoms and tenderness of the sinuses when pressed.

Tests may include:

* Endoscopic examination of the sinuses – threading a tiny, lighted tube into the nasal cavities to view the sinus opening
* Holding a flashlight up to the sinuses in a dark room to see if they are illuminated
* MRI or CT scan of the sinuses
* Removing sinus fluid through a needle for testing (rare)
* Sinus x-rays

The diagnosis of acute sinusitis is most certain when a history of 10 or more days of colored mucous is combined with tenderness over the sinuses and visible mucous on inspection of the nose. Most doctors do not find further testing necessary or helpful in the management of uncomplicated acute sinusitis. Treatment Moisturization

Drinking lots of fluids might help keep your nasal secretions thin. This will help avoid plugging up your nasal passages and sinuses. Salt water nose sprays or irrigation using various devices may also loosen nasal secretions. Steam Treatments

Consider keeping a humidifier running in your bedroom. Fill a bowl with steaming water every couple of hours, and make a steam tent with a towel over your head so that you can breathe in the steam. Decongestants

Use either decongestant pills or nasal sprays to try to shrink nasal passages. Don't use nasal sprays for longer than 3-4 days in a row. If you need longer treatment, your doctor may prescribe intranasal corticosteroid medications—especially I you have had recurrent sinus problems. Antihistamines

Allergy medications called antihistamines may help sinusitis symptoms if it is caused by allergies, but may also dry out the nasal mucosa. Antibiotics

Your doctor may decide to give you antibiotics if the infection seems to be caused by bacteria. Over-the-Counter Pain Medication

You can use acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin to treat sinus pain.

Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving a child aspirin. Guaifenesin-containing Cough Medicines

These can help you cough up secretions. Surgical Procedures

Surgery is a last resort for people with very troublesome, serious chronic sinusitis. It includes:

* Functional endoscopic sinus surgery – a lighted scope is used to enlarge the sinuses to improve drainage
* Removal of nasal polyps
* Repair of a deviated septum

Prevention

If you have a tendency to get sinusitis following a cold or allergy attack, try these preventive measures:

* Avoid cigarette smoke.
* Avoid substances you know you are allergic to.
* Blow your nose gently, while pressing one nostril closed.
* Consider getting HEPA filters for your furnace and vacuum cleaner to remove allergens from the air.
* Have allergy testing to determine what things you are allergic to and to learn how to treat your allergies.
* If you get a cold, drink lots of fluids.
* If you get a cold, use a decongestant (either pills or nasal spray).
* If you have allergies, consider using cortisone nasal spray or antihistamines to decrease inflammation of your nasal passages.
* Try not to fly in an airplane when you are congested. If you must fly, use a nasal spray decongestant to decrease inflammation prior to take-off and landing.
* Use a humidifier when you have a cold, allergic symptoms, or sinusitis.

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