A sinus infection is an acute or chronic disease which affects the integrity of the nasal sinuses. Sinuses are very important elements and their role is to protect the brain against impacts, to reduce the weight of the skull and to improve the resonance of the voice.
Sinusitis appears when the nasal membrane gets affected by pollutants, cold or dry air and becomes inflamed. Secondary the cilia will slow down their movements, and mucus will be mass produced in order to eliminate the accumulated bacteria. Because cilia are not working properly the mucus will be trapped in the sinuses and cause a local infection. Sometimes even the fact that the secretions are thick can cause sinusitis. In rare cases a tumor can block the sinuses causing a local obstruction.
The infection of the sinuses can last a month and it is known as acute sinusitis or can last more than three months and then it is known as chronic sinusitis. The sub acute sinusitis is situated somewhere in between, meaning that is lasts from one month to less than three months.
There are people who are exposed at this affection due to their profession. Those who work in conditions which expose them to infections like health care personnel, those who work with irritants like smoke, petrol and pain fumes, perfumes and different sprays are also at risk of developing sinusitis.
Those who smoke a lot and who have a weakened immune system are more exposed to sinusitis and infections than others.
A person who has fever, headaches, facial pain and pressure, colored nasal discharge, and even problems with the vision for more than 10 days must go to the doctor and ask for a treatment because left untreated, sinusitis can cause pneumonia, ear infection, bronchitis and even bone infections.
The doctor will try to see if there is redness and swelling of the nasal passages, tenderness at percussion and swelling in the eye area. With the help of a rhinoscope the doctor will want to see if the sinuses are obstructed or not. Sometimes he might even perform an aspiration to collect samples of the material that blocks the sinus and see what kind of bacteria populates this material.
The therapy consists out of medical treatment and home care remedies. They are meant to clear up the infection, open and drainage the sinuses, and reduce as possible the intensity of the symptoms while reassuring prevention to recurrences of the infection.
At home the patient is recommended to drink warm fluids, to apply wet bandages on the face and to make steam inhalations. The doctor will prescribe the patient oral decongestants, and mucus thinning agents. Besides this anti-biotherapy is needed in order to stop the infection that has caused sinusitis. The doctor might try more types of antibiotics until he finds the right one as he can not know which bacteria has caused your infection. Also, cortisone sprays might be helpful as they improve the drainage of the sinuses. Treatment must be followed at least 10 days otherwise the sinus infection might come back after a few days.
For those in whom the treatment is not effective surgery is the last option. This surgery lasts two or three hours and it consists out of straightening the septum, and opening the sinuses in order to improve the drainage. Hospitalization is needed a day or two and the recovery period might last up to two weeks. Even if you have had surgery this does not mean you can not have sinusitis again, but the advantage is that if you develop it again you will be able to treat it more easily.
The easier thing is to prevent sinusitis, not to treat it. You can prevent sinusitis by giving up smoking, by treating any colds as soon as they install, by cleaning up the nose gently when needed and by drinking a lot of warm liquids.
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