, germs (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) can grow and cause an infection.
Conditions that can cause sinus blockage include: the common cold, allergic rhinitis (swelling of the lining of the nose), nasal polyps (small growths in the lining of the nose), or a deviated septum (a shift in the nasal cavity).
There are different types of sinusitis, including:
Acute sinusitis: A sudden onset of cold-like symptoms such as runny, stuffy nose and facial pain that does not go away after 10 to 14 days. Acute sinusitis typically lasts 4 weeks or less.
Subacute sinusitis: An inflammation lasting 4 to 8 weeks.
Chronic sinusitis: A condition characterized by sinus inflammation symptoms lasting 8 weeks or longer.
Recurrent sinusitis: Several attacks within a year.
People who have the following conditions have a higher risk of sinusitis:
- Nasal mucous membrane swelling as from a common cold
- Blockage of drainage ducts
- Structural differences that narrow the drainage ducts
- Nasal polyps
In adults, the contributing factors are most frequently infections and smoking.
Signs and Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis
Some of the primary symptoms of acute sinusitis include:
- Facial pain/pressure
- Nasal stuffiness
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of smell
- Bad breath
- Dental pain
Treatment for sinusitis depends on its severity.
Simple sinus infections can be treated with decongestants. Use of non-prescription decongestant nasal drops or sprays may be effective in controlling symptoms. However, they should not be used beyond their recommended use, usually four to five days, or they may actually increase congestion. Antibiotics can be used for 10 to 14 days. With treatment, the symptoms usually disappear and antibiotics are no longer required.
Warm moist air may alleviate sinus congestion. A vaporizer or inhaling steam from a pan of boiling water (removed from heat) may also help. Warm compresses are useful to relieve pain in the nose and sinuses. Saline nose drops are also safe for home use. Use of nonprescription decongestant nasal drops or sprays might be effective in controlling symptoms, however, they should not be used beyond their recommended use. Antibiotics or oral steroids may also be prescribed to patients.
NOTE: Delaying treatment for sinusitis may result in suffering from unnecessary pain and discomfort. In extremely rare circumstances, untreated sinusitis can lead to meningitis or brain abscess and infection of the bone.