What is Sinusitis

What is Sinusitis

What is Sinusitis


Sinusitis is the medical term for swelling of the lining of the sinuses and nose. The sinuses are lined with the mucous membranes similar to the inside of the nose.

Sinus infections are common when you have cold or flu with runny nose. When this happens your nasal channel s very easy to get contaminated. However it is difficult to know if you have a viral or bacterial sinus infection initially. Studies show that duration of symptoms cannot alway reliably distinguish between viral or bacterial sinusitis.

If symptoms of sinusitis last more than 10 days and you have symptoms that initially improve but then worsen again within the first 7 days or you have severe symptoms (fever > 38.9 °C, thick, yellow to green discharge from your nose for 3 or 4 days in a row), then you may have bacterial sinusitis. That is why it is common for doctors to ask you these questions about your sickness conditions like how many days it has lasted and what is the colour of the mucus or nose discharge.

It is common for doctors to prescribe symptom relief medication as symptomatic treatment, but these treatment do not shorten the duration of illness as it aims to relieve symptoms only so that you can have better rest to let you body recover itself. These treatments are such as:

Pain relief – Acetaminophen or ibuprofen

Nasal irrigation – Flushing the nose and sinuses with a saline solution several times per day.

Nasal steroids – Steroids delivered by a nasal spray can help to reduce swelling inside the nose, usually within 2 to 3 days. These drugs have few side effects.

Oral decongestants – Oral decongestants may be helpful of you have associated symptoms of ear pain.

Nasal decongestant sprays – Can be used to temporarily treat congestion, however, these sprays should not be used for more than 2 to 3 days due to the risk of rebound congestion, possible addiction, and long-term consequences of frequent use, including persistent nasal dryness and crusting, which is very difficult to treat once it has developed.

Oral antihistamines – Not proven to improve symptoms of sinusitis and can have unwanted side effects.

Mucolytics – Medication to thin secretions may help to clear mucus.

Antibiotics – Bacterial sinusitis does not always need to be treated with antibiotics. For viral infections it is useless.

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