Sinusitis is caused by too much mucus, or a swelling of the sinuses and nose, and is a painful condition when the sinuses become inflamed or infected.
Sinusitis can occur during a cold, or may be due to an allergy (such as hay fever) or an irritation of the linings of the sinuses (for example, from chlorine in a swimming pool).
Bacteria then grow inside the sinuses, causing pain, headache and sometimes fever. Mucus from infected sinuses can be yellow or green. Some people get sinusitis with most colds, while others rarely get it.
Common symptoms of sinusitis include a blocked nose, pressure inside the face, headaches and swelling.
Some people are troubled by frequent sinus infections, or continuous infection. Chronic sinusitis can linger for weeks or even months at a time. This can sometimes lead to serious complications, including infections in the bones and tissue near to the sinuses.
Very rarely, this infection can spread to the brain and the fluid around the brain.
Sinusitis treatment options
Decongestants that help with symptoms of colds usually do not help with sinusitis. Nose sprays can even make the problem worse, if they are used for too long, because they can cause more swelling.
Antibiotics are often prescribed for sinusitis.
Most people will recover fully from sinusitis in a week or so without antibiotics, but they may recover more quickly if effective antibiotics are used. (Some antibiotics are much more useful for sinusitis than others).
Further options to manage the symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Steam inhalation, perhaps including a few drops of eucalyptus oil
- Comfortably hot compresses held against the face
- Pain relief medication, such as paracetamol.
If you suffer from sinusitis, it’s important to try and identify the trigger in order to treat the condition. For example, hay fever or dental disease may need to be treated, or you may want to avoid irritants by staying out of swimming pools.
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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.