Sinusitis is a common problem in adults, most of us experienced it more or less. In medical science known as rhinosinusitis, is an inflammation or swelling of the paranasal sinuses on the tissue lining. Most of the time sinus infection is not a major problem and caused by viral infection, which can be cured by medicine courses near 10 days. Over 35 million cases are recorded as sinus infection in the US every year and there are lots of unregistered cases. In general, sinuses are filled with air, but if sinuses filled with fluid and get blocked with different types of germs (i.e. viruses, fungi and bacteria) may cause sinus infection and make you feel uncomfortable. You could caught by sinus blockages in the following ways:
- Allergic rhinitis (in short, swelling happen to the lining of the nose)
- Common cold
- Nasal polyps (unnecessary growth of the nose lining) or
- Deviated septum (a shift in the nasal cavity).
Types of sinus infection
Depending on the severity of the condition. The sinusitis can be chronic to acute. If a patient got affected several times in a year, it can be called recurrent sinusitis.
- Acute sinusitis (acute rhinosinusitis): In case of acute sinusitis, it creates cavities around the sinuses (nasal passages) and get inflamed and swollen. It can cause mucus build up by interfering with the drainage. It causes trouble breathing through the nose. You will also experience a headache or throbbing facial pain. In general, cold is the most common cause of acute sinusitis, but some other causes are allergies, fungal and bacterial infections. Your doctor will determine the treatment methods after finding the exact causes. Also, home remedies for sinus infection can be an option, even if the condition is acute. However, if your condition is not improved, you should consult with a doctor. Persistent sinusitis lasting more than eight weeks will be treated as chronic and it can lead to serious complications in the future.
- Chronic sinusitis (chronic rhinosinusitis): In case of chronic sinusitis the cavities around nasal passages get inflamed and swollen. Regardless, you require medical treatment, it can sustain up to eight weeks. Like acute sinusitis, you may feel difficult to breath through your nose and the area under the eyes and face seems swollen. Most of the patient also complains about headache and facial pain. Chronic rhinosinusitis may be an effect of sinus infection, but some other causes are also blameable such as, nasal polyps or deviated nasal septum. Most of the patients age groups are young to middle age. Children are less exposed to chronic sinusitis compared to adults.
Symptoms of sinus infection
The symptoms of acute and chronic sinusitis are almost same. If you see the following sings, then you need to diagnose sinusitis:
- Difficulty breathing through nose, often caused by nasal obstruction.
- Drainage of a thick yellow or greenish discharge from your nose or down the back of the throat is often seen.
- Coughing, it can be worse and keep you awake at night.
- It can reduce the sense of smell and taste.
- Facial pain, tenderness and swelling, especially around the eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead.
Other symptoms you may also feel:
- Ear pain
- Bad breath
- Aching in the upper jaw and teeth
If you see more than two of the above symptoms, then you should take medications. In case of severe sinus infection the condition can be worse. You may feel severe headache, confusion, stiff neck, double vision, swollen forehead, pain or swelling around your eyes and shortness of breath.
Causes of sinusitis
Some usual causes of acute sinusitis infection are as follows:
- Viral infection: We define most acute sinusitis as an effect of common cold.
- Bacterial infection: Detect bacterial infection instead of viral infection if your upper respiratory tract infection persists longer than 7-10 days.
- Fungal infection: If your immune system is weakened and you have sinus abnormalities you’re more like to get affected by a fungal infection.
Some other health problem can increase the risk of acute sinus infection or sinusitis. Such conditions are:
- Nasal polyps or tumors
- Tooth infection
- Deviated nasal septum
- Other medical conditions
In chronic sinusitis condition, the mucous membranes of the nose and upper respiratory tract (throat) get inflamed. Sinus infection also prevents mucus from draining normally and you feel face pain and other terrible symptoms. Blocked sinuses create moist environment, as a result the infection spread easily. Chronic sinusitis can be caused due to the following causes:
- Allergy: Fungal infections are triggered by allergies and you get sinusitis.
- Nasal Polyps: The tissue growth can block the nasal drainages or sinuses.
- Trauma of the face: If you had an accident or any broken bone on the face, it can also block the nasal passage.
- Deviated nasal septum: It is the wall between the nostrils, sometimes restrict sinus passages.
- Immune system: Immune cells known as eosinophils, sometimes cause sinus infection.
- Respiratory tract infections: This type of infection can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungus. In most of the case colds are blameable to inflame and thicken sinus membranes, block mucus drainage and create conditions ripe for the growth of bacteria.
- Other health conditions: Some other complications such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), cystic fibrosis, HIV and other immune system related disease conditions can cause nasal blockage.