Acute Sinusitis

1 What is Acute Sinusitis?

Acute sinusitis, or acute rhinosinusitis, is the inflammation of the tissue that lines the sinus cavities.

Sinuses are smaller cavities surrounding the nasal cavities. They produce mucus to keep the nasal passages clean.

Inflammation of the tissue lining the sinuses blocks the cavities, resulting in trapping of mucus. It leads to pain and pressure within the nasal passages and the surrounding areas.

Inflammation of the sinuses can be chronic or acute. Symptoms of acute sinusitis lasts up to a month, while that of a chronic condition persist longer.

In most cases, the symptoms resolve on their own without any specific treatment. Antibiotics are prescribed if the sinus block has an infection.

Rarely, the infection can spread to nearby structures.

2 Symptoms

Nasal congestion with a thick, yellow or green mucus discharge is the most common symptom of Acute sinusitis.

It is usually accompanied by throat pain and a cough. The cough usually gets worse during the night.

Pain and pressure will be felt in the area of the sinus cavities including behind the eyes, nose, cheeks, or forehead.

Headache and earache are also common. Sense of smell and taste will be less and fever is also common.

Fatigue often affects the regular activities of the day.

3 Causes

Some conditions and illnesses that cause Acute sinusitis are:

  • Upper respiratory infection caused by bacteria
  • Sinus infections
  • Allergies
  • Diseases that affect the motility of cilia in the sinuses
  • Nasal polyps
  • Nasal tumors
  • Deviated nasal septum
  • Enlarged adenoids
  • Tooth infection
  • Cystic fibrosis

A number of factors can increase the risk of sinusitis.

Smoking, large adenoids, exposure to viruses that cause infection, a weak immune system and abnormalities in the nasal passages increase the risk of acute sinusitis.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Thorough physical examination helps in the diagnosis of Acute sinusitis.

Examination of nasal passages reveals the presence of inflammation and fluid. This will also help in checking for nasal polyps or a deviated nasal septum.

Nasal endoscopy is used to clearly see the nasal passages and the sinus cavities.

Imaging techniques like MRIs and CT scans also help to see the inner parts of nasal area and sinuses. If acute sinusitis does not respond to the conventional treatment, nasal and sinus cultures will be recommended.

Allergy testing is also done in sinusitis when triggered by allergies.

5 Treatment

Most cases of acute sinusitis are caused by viruses and do not need any specific treatment.

The symptoms resolve on its own within three to four weeks. Treatment of sinusitis helps to relieve symptoms like pain and inflammation.

Nasal passages are cleared using nasal sprays. Corticosteroids are used to control inflammation of the nasal cavities. Fluticasone, mometasone, budesonide, triamcinolone, and beclomethasone are also recommended as anti-inflammatory agents.

Over-the-counter medications are used to relieve congestion. Pain is controlled by over-the-counter pain medications as well such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Antibiotics are prescribed in case of persistent bacterial infections that cause acute sinusitis. Antifungal medications are suggested for fungal infections that result in acute sinusitis.

The dose of antifungals are based on severity of infection.

In some cases, allergies cause acute sinusitis, and this is controlled by immunotherapy.

6 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Many alternative and homeopathic remediesĀ are used to ease congestion and relieve symptoms of acute sinusitis.

Bromelain is used to reduce swelling in the nasal passages.

Inhalation of steam after adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil helps to keep the sinuses moist.

Staying hydrated and having spicy foods helps to relieve symptoms.

In homeopathy, arsenicum is recommended for relieving pain. Belladone is useful when the head feels full.

Kali bichromicum, Mercuricum, pulsatilla, and spigella are also recommended.

7 Prevention

Managing allergies and avoiding allergens are helpful in preventing and controlling Acute sinusitis.

Upper respiratory infections are one of the most common causes of this condition.

How to prevent Sinus Infection

A humidifier helps to add moisture to dry air and helps to prevent sinus inflammation.

Keeping a strong immune system also prevents infection and viruses.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

There are different ways to adapt your lifestyle in coping with Acute sinusitis.

Ample rest and drinking plenty of fluids relieves symptoms.

Warm compresses and rinsing the nasal passages are other helpful options.

9 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications of Acute sinusitis.

Acute sinusitis may lead to asthma or a chronic form of sinusitis.

If the infection of the sinus tissue spreads to the brain, it may result in meningitis.

In some rare cases, an infection of the eyes can lead to reduced vision.

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