Sinus Infection – An Overview
Sinus infections often follow a cold and cause pain and pressure in your head and face.
Sinusitis can be either sudden (acute) or long-term (chronic). With chronic sinusitis, the infection or inflammation does not completely go away for 12 weeks or more.
Sinusitis can be caused by three things:
The same viruses that cause the common cold cause most cases of sinusitis.
When the lining of the sinus cavities gets inflamed from a viral infection like a cold, it swells. This is viral sinusitis. The swelling can block the normal drainage of fluid from the sinuses into the nose and throat. If the fluid cannot drain and builds up over time, bacteria or fungi (plural of fungus) may start to grow in it. These bacterial or fungal infections can cause more swelling and pain. They are more likely to last longer, get worse with time, and become chronic.
Nasal allergies or other problems that block the nasal passages and allow fluid to build up in the sinuses can also lead to sinusitis.
Signs and Symptoms of Sinus Infections
The main signs and symptoms of sinus infection are a runny or stuffy nose and pain and pressure in the head and face. There may also be a yellow or green drainage or drip from the nose or down the back of the throat (postnasal discharge). Where the patient might feel the pain and tenderness depends on which sinus is affected.
Other common symptoms of sinusitis may include:
- A headache.
- Bad breath.
- A coughthat produces mucus.
- A fever.
- Pain in your teeth.
- A reduced sense of taste or smell.
Sinus Infection Treatment procedures
There are various methods and procedure that are used in a sinus infection treatment, such as:
Home treatments may help in draining the mucus from the sinuses and in preventing a more serious bacterial or fungal infection.
Bacterial infections can be mostly treated with antibiotics. The patient will probably feel better in a few days, but some of the symptoms may last for a few weeks as well. The patient may need to take the medicine for a longer time if they have chronic sinusitis.
If the patient has a fungal infection-which are uncommon-antibiotics will not clear up the sinusitis. With this type of infection, the patient may need treatment with antifungal medicines, steroid medicines, or surgery.
If the antibiotics and other medicines have been proven unsuccessful and the patient still has sinusitis symptoms, then a surgical treatment might be advised. A surgery is also needed if the infection is likely to spread or if there are other underlying problems, such as a growth (polyp) blocking the nasal passage.
The goal of surgery is to make drainage of the sinuses better, usually by removing the blockage and draining the mucus. This may mean removing:
- Infected, swollen, or damaged tissue.
- Bone, to create a wider opening for drainage of mucus from the sinuses.
- Growths (polyps) inside the nose or sinuses.
- A foreign object that is blocking a nasal or sinus passage. This usually occurs in children.
Surgery may be the only means of getting a badly blocked, infected sinus to drain properly. But surgery does not always completely eliminate sinusitis. Some people may need a second operation.
Surgery is most successful when used along with medicine and home treatment to prevent future sinusitis. A second surgery and future sinusitis may be avoided if antibiotics are taken to prevent re-infection.
These are the commonly performed sinus infection surgical treatment methods:
Endoscopic surgery is preferred over traditional surgery for most cases of chronic sinusitis that require surgery. It is less invasive, less expensive, and has a lower rate of complications.
- Endoscopic surgery may be done to remove small amounts of bone or other material blocking the sinus openings or to remove growths (polyps). Normally, a thin, lighted tool called an endoscope is inserted through the nose so the doctor can see and remove whatever is blocking the sinuses.
- Sinus surgery may be done when complications of sinusitis—such as the development of pus in a sinus, infection of the facial bones, or brain abscess—have occurred. In this type of surgery, the doctor makes an opening into the sinus from inside the mouth or through the skin of the face.
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