Sinusitis is a condition that affects the nose and sinuses. The sinuses are empty cavities around the eyes, cheeks and nose that moisten and filter the air in the nasal cavity. When these cavities, as well as the nose, become swollen and inflamed, infection can develop in the sinuses and cause a variety of symptoms that are known as sinusitis.
Sinusitis can be an acute illness (lasting four weeks or less) or a chronic one (lasting more than three months). It is frequently a complication of a common cold or allergies. People who have problems with their nose structure, including narrow passages for drainage, may also have more frequent problems with sinusitis.
Sinusitis symptoms may be worse and longer-lasting than typical cold or allergy symptoms. They include a stuffy nose, head pressure, sore throat, cough, congestion and often a headache, as well. Occasionally, sinusitis is also accompanied by fatigue, fever or a toothache.
Treatment for sinusitis varies based on what is causing the sinus problems. For example, if allergies are at the root of the sinus issues, developing an allergy management plan might be the best way to prevent future bouts of sinusitis. This could include avoiding the offending allergens as much as possible and taking regular antihistamines or using a steroid nasal spray to prevent allergic reactions. Similarly, medications that control cold symptoms, like decongestants, may be recommended if a cold is the cause of sinusitis.
When the sinsuses are swollen and mucus cannot drain from them, bacterial infections can develop, causing bacterial sinusitis. If this develops, an antibiotic prescribed by a doctor is the usual course of action. And those who have problems with their nose structure may require surgery to correct the issues and prevent future bouts of sinusitis.
SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.