What is Sinusitis? What are the Symptoms?

What is Sinusitis? What are the Symptoms?

Sinusitis is a condition characterized by inflammation and swelling of the mucous membrane lining the sinuses. The sinuses keep the inside of the nose moist and produce mucus. This helps to provide protection against dust, pollutants and allergens. The sinuses are mostly filled with air. However, when the sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid for various reasons, microbes grow and cause infection. There are different types such as acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis and allergic sinusitis. The symptoms of sinusitis are often similar. The most common symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, decreased sense of smell, nasal congestion and discharge around the cheeks, eyes and forehead.

What is Sinusitis?

The sinuses are empty spaces in the skull and there are four pairs of sinuses in total. The sinuses are located behind the nose, above, below and behind the eyes. The sinuses are one of the places in the human body where inflammatory agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and allergens are frequently localized. Due to these agents and allergens, the sinuses can become inflamed and swollen, creating an inflammatory response. This condition can be briefly referred to as “sinusitis”, sometimes also called “rhinosinusitis”.

What are the Types of Sinusitis?

The types of sinusitis vary depending on the duration of the condition and the causative factor. Sinusitis can be classified as acute, subacute, chronic and recurrent sinusitis according to how long it has been going on, and as bacterial, fungal, viral or allergic sinusitis according to the causative agent. The types of sinusitis can be briefly mentioned as follows:
  • Acute Sinusitis: Symptoms last less than 4 weeks and can be caused by a virus that usually causes a cold.
  • Subacute Sinusitis If the symptoms of sinusitis last for more than 4 weeks and less than 12 weeks, subacute sinusitis can be diagnosed.
  • Chronic sinusitis: Symptoms last at least 12 weeks. Most often it develops due to bacterial causes.
  • Recurrent Acute Sinusitis: Symptoms recur four or more times a year and last less than two weeks each time.
  • Fungal Sinusitis: Allergic symptoms develop against fungi that settle on the nasal mucosa. It is divided into invasive and noninvasive fungal sinusitis. Invasive fungal sinusitis can cause symptoms of encephalitis. Symptoms of sinusitis in the brain indicate a serious health problem, which can be fatal if left untreated. Non-invasive fungal sinusitis is more common than invasive. It only affects the nose and sinuses.
  • Bacterial sinusitis: Bacterial sinus infection can usually last for 7-10 days. Antibiotics may be needed to treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Viral Sinusitis Viral sinusitis is caused by a virus that causes the common cold. There is no cure for viral infections. Symptoms usually disappear within 5-7 days. Antibiotic treatments are ineffective in the treatment of viral sinusitis.
  • Allergic Sinusitis: Dust, pollen, smoke and other environmental irritant allergens in the air during breathing can trigger sinusitis. Symptoms may appear and disappear with the seasons as the amount of allergens in the air varies.

What are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?

Sinus infection is a common condition, especially after colds and flu. Common symptoms of sinusitis usually develop in the facial area. People with sinusitis may snore at night and nasal sounds may be heard during conversation. Young children may also develop sleep disturbance, restlessness, mouth breathing and feeding difficulties. Symptoms of advanced sinusitis may include blurred consciousness, visual disturbances, double vision, severe headache, stiff neck, swelling and redness around the eyes. This can be a sign of a serious infection and it is advisable to contact a health professional immediately. Sinusitis and migraine are considered to be two disorders that are difficult to distinguish because of their similar symptoms. The symptoms of sinusitis can be briefly mentioned as follows:
  • Mucus dripping down the throat,
  • Runny nose with yellow and green mucus,
  • Nasal congestion and decreased sense of smell,
  • Facial pressure, pain, swelling and tenderness, especially around the nose, eyes and forehead,
  • Worsening pain during movement of the head,
  • Pressure or pain in the teeth and ears,
  • Fire,
  • Bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth,
  • Cough
  • Fatigue

Symptoms of Allergic Sinusitis

Allergic sinusitis may develop if dust and pollen-like allergens settle on the nasal mucosa during inhalation. The symptoms are often similar to those of other sinusitis. The amount of allergens in the air can change with the seasons, so symptoms may increase or decrease from time to time. Symptoms of allergic sinusitis can be listed as follows:
  • Itching in the nose, eyes and throat,
  • Fatigue and weakness,
  • Throat irritation,
  • Headache
  • Nasal congestion and discharge.

Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis

Swellings called nasal polyps in the sinuses of infection are part of chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis can affect adults and children. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis last at least 12 weeks and bouts of acute sinusitis can often recur before becoming chronic. Fever is not a common symptom in chronic sinusitis. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis can be listed as follows:
  • Thick and colorless mucus during nasal discharge,
  • Accumulation of mucus in the back of the throat,
  • Decreased sense of smell and taste,
  • Pain, swelling and tenderness around the eyes and forehead.

What Causes Sinusitis?

The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the skull and healthy sinuses are free of bacteria, germs and other allergens. When sinus openings become blocked or too much mucus builds up, bacteria and germs can grow on the nasal mucosa and cause infection. Causes of sinusitis include the following:
  • Allergic rhinitis,
  • Exposure to allergens,
  • Abnormal sinus structures,
  • Adenoid enlargement,
  • Smoking
  • Asthma patients,
  • Recurrent respiratory infections,
  • Diseases that affect the immune system, such as cystic fibrosis, cancer and HIV,
  • Colds and flu,
  • Streptococcus Pneumoniae, Haemophilus Influenza and Moraxella Catarrhalis bacteria,
  • Growths on the nasal membrane.

How Does Sinusitis Pass? What is the Treatment?

Treatment of sinusitis varies depending on the symptoms of the disease and how long these symptoms have persisted. Another question that patients often wonder the answer to is “What is good for sinusitis pain?”. The answers to these questions and the methods that can be used for the treatment of sinusitis can be listed as follows:
  • Steroid nasal sprays or drops can be used to reduce swelling in the sinuses in accordance with the doctor’s advice.
  • Antihistamine treatment can be applied with expert recommendation to relieve the symptoms of allergic sinusitis.
  • The answer to the question “What is good for sinusitis headache?” is also often wondered. If sinusitis causes symptoms such as headaches, painkillers may be prescribed.
  • To treat sinusitis at home, it may be recommended to drink plenty of fluids, rest and open the sinuses with steam inhalation.
  • Surgical methods can be explained to patients in response to the question “How is sinusitis drained?”. Sinusitis surgery can enlarge the sinuses.
  • Surgical drainage of sinusitis inflammation and drainage of sinusitis are beneficial in relieving the symptoms of patients.

How to Prevent Sinusitis?

Depending on the underlying cause of sinusitis, the risk of developing an infection can be reduced. There are many answers to the question “What is good for sinusitis?”. For example, washing the nose with salt water in line with the physician’s recommendation, protecting against allergens, benefiting from various medical treatments, establishing hand washing and similar hygiene habits that will reduce the risk of contracting infectious diseases, avoiding smoke and quitting smoking can be counted among these responses. In addition, applications such as acupuncture and facial massage are beneficial in controlling sinusitis pain. The most common symptoms of sinusitis are facial pain. Therefore, it is inevitable for patients to seek answers to questions such as “How does sinusitis pain go away?”. Sinusitis symptoms usually disappear within a week and treatment can be achieved with simple medical applications. If patients with chronic sinusitis have recurring symptoms that can negatively affect their quality of life, it is strongly recommended to consult a specialist. Especially advanced sinusitis symptoms can cause serious health problems. It is therefore recommended to start treatment as soon as possible.
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