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Sinusitis

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What is Sinusitis?

Acute bacterial sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavities caused by bacteria. It typically preceded by an upper respiratory infection/cold, allergy exacerbation, or by general environmental irritation. Typical treatment includes an antibiotic after appropriate diagnosis by an Otolaryngologist. With inflammation, the nose and sinuses become unable to drain appropriately. Symptoms can include purulent nasal drainage, nasal obstruction, and facial pain/pressure.  The sinus infection is likely bacterial if infection lasts longer than 10 days.  Chronic sinusitis occurs with symptoms and signs that persist longer than three months.  Symptoms may be less severe than acute sinusitis.

Sinusitis Treatments:

  • Antibiotic therapy – Diagnosis would preclude use of an appropriate antibiotic. Additionally, an oral or nasal spray or drop decongestant may help, though it is important to avoid long term OTC medication usage without physician supervision.

  • Surgery – Sometimes surgery is necessary with failure of medical therapy for chronic sinusitis. Surgical goal is to relieve obstruction of the sinuses and thus the infection. Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is recommended for sinus disease, where a scope is used by the surgeon to inspect the nose, and appropriately remove diseased tissue (sometimes polyps). This typically requires a general anesthesia, though in office procedures are available will be made between you and your doctor, depending on your individual circumstances.

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General Tips for Preventing Chronic Sinusitis:

 

Whether you are dealing with an allergy exacerbation, cold or sinusitis, sinuses can be cleared initially: Using an oral decongestant or a short course of nasal spray decongestant

  • Hydration to maintain nasal thin discharge.

  • With flying, using a nasal spray decongestant before take-off and descent (one hour) to prevent blockage of the sinuses allows drainage.

  • With allergies, avoid contact with allergens that trigger attacks.  You may use over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines and/or a prescription nasal spray to control allergy attacks

  • Allergy testing, is important in diagnosis of underlying allergic rhinitis for appropriate allergy treatments