More Than Just the Sniffles
Sinusitis is an infection that is a little hard to pin down as it has symptoms that are similar to other illnesses. As you may have gathered from its name, sinusitis is an infection in the sinuses. Irritation in the sinuses can cause them to become inflamed, which can lead to infection. This infection causes increased mucus production in the sinuses, but the swelling in these cavities prevents the mucus from properly draining and escaping from the body. This means that a lot of pressure builds in the sinuses, causing those awful sinus headaches and tenderness in the face. Oftentimes, you may start off with a simple cold, but a bacterial infection in the sinuses can cause it to turn into sinusitis. Allergies are also associated with causing sinusitis.
There are several different types of sinusitis based on how long the infection takes to run its course and how often it recurs. Acute sinusitis lasts up to four weeks. Subacute sinusitis lasts even longer from four to twelve weeks. There are also chronic and recurrent versions of the infection. Chronic sinusitis can last for months or years! The recurrent variety is identifiable in that it causes several attacks a year.
- mucus drainage
- sore throat
- stuffy and/or runny nose
- facial pain
Sinusitis is diagnosed by symptoms and facial examinations. It is often treated with antibiotics, decongestants, pain relievers, and rest. People who have allergies, a weakened immune system, structural problems in the sinuses, or have had a recent infection or the cold is more at risk of developing this infection. Go to HCE if you have a fever higher than 100.4 F, worsening symptoms, or frequent sinus infections.