How Do I Prevent Chronic Sinusitis
You may be able to prevent infections and chronic sinusitis if you:
- Treat the underlying conditions behind chronic sinusitis, like asthma and allergies.
- Avoid allergens such as animal dander, dust, pollen, smoke and mold that trigger swelling in the sinuses.
- Quit smoking if you do smoke and avoid any secondhand smoke.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Rinse your nasal passages with saline solution, either purchased or with a neti pot.
- Eat healthy foods, stay hydrated and exercise regularly to stay healthy overall.
- Use a humidifier to keep nasal tissues moist.
What Is Nasal Congestion
Nasal congestion is a blocked, stuffy or bunged-up feeling in your nose. Depending on the cause, it can last a short while or can be persistent. In adults and children it is usually an annoying symptom rather than a serious one. In babies, however, a blocked-up nose may make it difficult to breathe or feed.
Some of the causes of nasal congestion are discussed below. You may have other symptoms along with the blocked nose.
Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute
There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:
- Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
- Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
- Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
- Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.
Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.
For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.
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Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection
Common symptoms of sinus infections may include:
- Runny nose or cold symptoms that last longer than seven to 10 days
- Complaints of drip in the throat from the nose
- Keep chronic diseases under control
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth
- Stay current on your vaccines
- Wash your hands frequently
Should You Visit A Specialist
If your sinus infection just wont go away or keeps coming back, it may be time to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. An ENT treats conditions of the ear, nose, throat, head, face, and neck. It may be time to see an ENT if:
- Youve completed several courses of antibiotics without success
- Your doctor suspects nasal polyps or another blockage of the nasal cavity
- You have chronic sinusitis that lasts longer than 12 weeks
Living with a sinus infection is miserable and living with a sinus infection for weeks on end is worse. Contact your doctor or an ENT to get the treatment you need.
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If Chronic Rhinosinusitis Is Diagnosed What Treatments Should Be Offered To This Patient
Intranasal corticosteroids are the mainstay of treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis because of their anti-inflammatory properties and their ability to reduce polyp size and improve nasal congestion.5,6 Daily use of topical intranasal corticosteroids often requires two to three months to achieve symptom relief.5 In a well-designed double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, long-term topical steroids taken intranasally were shown to be safe in adults and did not result in an increase in intraocular pressure or adrenal suppression.5 In addition, according to practice guidelines and expert panel recommendation, a short course of oral steroids can be considered for patients with severe symptoms to reduce mucosal inflammation and polyp size.2
There is consistent evidence of the benefit of saline irrigation in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. A Cochrane review based on eight large randomized controlled trials showed that saline is effective for symptom relief in this condition when used as the sole modality and as a treatment adjunct.7
Antibiotics should be considered in patients with substantial pain, purulence or recurrent acute-on-chronic sinusitis.2 A swab of the middle meatus of the nose may be obtained to help guide therapy, but empiric antibiotic therapy should target aerobic gram-positive and -negative bacteria as well as anaerobes.8 Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid or moxifloxacin are among the recommended first-line antibiotics.2
Problem #: Lying Down Gravity And Blood Pressure
Many patients who come in asking, Why are my sinuses worse at night? are surprised to discover what a strong role gravity and blood pressure play in worsening sinus issues. While youre sitting up and standing during the day, your blood circulates throughout your body, with bloodpressure and the forces of gravity affecting how how easy it is for your blood to reach your head and sinuses. Additionally, while youre vertical, gravity also helps your sinuses drain naturally down your esophagus and into your stomach.
When you lie down, however, your body doesnt have to fight as hard to send blood to your head. Increased blood flow in the blood vessels of your sinuses can, in turn, cause sinus congestion, pressure, and pain. Furthermore, gravity is no longer helping your sinuses drain, which increases the likelihood of experiencing those same problems.
These nighttime sinus circumstances can affect people who exhibit little to no sinus symptoms during the day. If youre also dealing with sinusitis, GERD, or allergies, these circumstances can worsen already inflamed blood vessels and exacerbate other related issues.
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Discharge From The Nose Or In The Throat
The most noticeable symptom of a sinus infection is the presence of discharge from the nose. This sign is similar to what you would experience with a regular cold or seasonal flu. The mucus from your sinuses may also drip down the back of your throat .
The color of the discharge may help you identify whether youre experiencing a common cold or a sinus infection. The former will often cause nasal mucus that is watery and clear or cloudy. The latter often comes with mucus that has a green or yellow tint. The discoloration is not a product of the bacteria itself. Instead, it is a result of your immune system fighting the infection by increasing white blood cells.
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When Antibiotics Are In Order
The main reason to prescribe antibiotics is for patient comfort, Dr. Sindwani says. The medical field used to be more convinced than it is today than untreated sinusitis would inevitably become a chronic issue, he says.
We dont think that way as much, he says. We dont know that an untreated acute sinusitis, if left untreated, will grumble along and cause people to have a chronic sinus infection.
Some people think thats two separate things, with chronic sinusitis more likely due to underlying issues like allergies or immune problems.
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What Are The Different Types Of Sinuses Near The Nose And Eyes
The paranasal sinuses are located in your head near your nose and eyes. They are named after the bones that provide their structure.
- The ethmoidal sinuses are located between your eyes.
- The maxillary sinuses are located below your eyes.
- The sphenoidal sinuses are located behind your eyes.
- The frontal sinuses are located above your eyes.
The biggest sinus cavity is the maxillary cavity, and it is one of the cavities that most often becomes infected.
There are different types of sinusitis:
- Acute bacterial sinusitis: This term refers to a sudden onset of cold symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, and facial pain that does not go away after 10 days, or symptoms that seem to improve but then return and are worse than the initial symptoms . It responds well to antibiotics and decongestants.
- Chronic sinusitis: This term refers to a condition defined by nasal congestion, drainage, facial pain/pressure, and decreased sense of smell for at least 12 weeks.
- Subacute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms last four to twelve weeks.
- Recurrent acute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms come back four or more times in one year and last less than two weeks each time.
Is Excess Mucus Ever A Sign Of Something More Serious
If the amount of mucus your body makes is uncomfortable, you might worry its a sign of a more serious problem.
According to Dr. Bryson, mucus is typically not a symptom to worry about if its your only symptom.
Worrisome signs are mucus accompanied by fevers, chills and night sweats, especially if you also experience weight loss, nasal obstruction or intermittent nose bleeds for more than two weeks, he says.
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Are Some People More Prone To Developing Nasal Polyps
Cystic fibrosis is one of the conditions that may predispose a person todeveloping nasal polyps. Other conditions includeasthmaand sensitivity to aspirin that, together with nasal polyps, form SamtersTriad, also known as aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease. People who have Samters Triad suffer from severe asthma accompanied bynasal polyps. They also frequently develop an allergy-like reaction toaspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Sinus Infection Signs And Symptoms You Need To Know
Sinus infection symptoms overlap so much with allergy, cold, and flu symptoms that it can be hard to differentiate between them all. A runny and itchy nose, congestion, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, fever, and phlegm are pretty standard across the board. But there are some unique symptoms that can help you determine if youve got a sinus infectiona bacterial infection that usually needs to be treated with antibiotics.
A sinus infection usually starts as a virus, like the cold or flu. The virus then makes your mucous so thick that it doesnt cycle through your system like it normally would. Bacteria then overgrows in that mucous. Thats how a virus turns into a bacterial infection, Erich Voigt, M.D., director of the division of general otolaryngology at NYU Langone Medical Center, tells SELF.
Since the initial virus wont respond to antibiotics, doctors want to make sure youre actually experiencing a bacterial infection before they give you meds. Theyll usually want to confirm your symptoms have lasted long enough and may also take a culture of your sinus mucous to check for bacteria.
So how can you tell when youve got a sinus infection? Here are the sinus infection symptoms to look out for.
Your symptoms will also become more sinus-focused when a sinus infection develops. The congestion and stuffiness may get worse, and mucous coming out of the nose may be more productive and discolored, Voigt says.
Those symptoms include these, from the Mayo Clinic:
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Nasal Allergy Symptom : Itchy Eyes
Again, avoiding the triggers that cause your allergies is the best way to help prevent itchy eyes. For example, if youâre allergic to pollen, keep the windows shut when youâre inside and wear sunglasses outside to help protect your eyes. Try not to rub your eyes, since this can irritate them, and avoid wearing contact lenses.
To soothe your eyes, try placing a cold washcloth over them or use artificial tears. Over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications or eyedrops that contain an antihistamine can also help relieve symptoms.
Youre Congested Because: You Have A Sinus Infection
As far as infections go, viral infections are one of the most frequent causes of irritation in the nose, which makes tissues swollen and inflamed, says Dr. Roditi. However, the source can also be fungal or bacterial. Many people mistake their sinus infection symptoms for allergies or a cold or flu, reported a survey from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Because a chronic episode can last more than 12 weeks, you shouldnt wait long to seek help. If your symptoms and congestion are lingering and you dont feel like youre getting better in seven to 10 daysparticularly if youre getting high fevers or serious head pain, see your doctor. Your body can fight off a lot of infections. Not everyone will need a medication or an antibiotic, but you want to get checked out if its not going away, says Dr. Roditi. These are the symptoms of a sinus infection you should recognize.
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Making Proactive Changes To Your Sleeping Environment
Do you have a blocked nose at night only? If you do, making the following adjustments in your bedroom may help alleviate your congestion.
- Keep your pets out of your bedroom, especially if you are allergic to pet dander or dust.
- If the air in your house tends to be dry, purchase a humidifier. This suggestion is especially relevant during the winter months when the air is often drier.
- Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine before bed. Both can make you dehydrated, which can aggravate your sinuses.
- On that same note, do what you can to stay hydrated. Hydration will help you feel better overall, but it can also work to alleviate some sinus pain.
Is Your Sinus Infection Acute Or Chronic
A short-term sinus infection is often referred to as acute sinusitis. Most cases of acute sinusitis last about a week, but this type of short-term sinus infection can last up to four weeks. If you suffer from a sinus infection that lasts longer than 12 weeks despite treatment from your doctor, its considered chronic sinusitis.
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Vertigo As An Interpretation Of Pressure In The Head
If youÃ¢ve heard of Ã¢vertigoÃ¢ before, you probably think it means a fear of heights. The truth is that it is the medical name given to the buildup of pressure in specific parts of your ear canal or head. You can simulate vertigo by spinning in place for a while, which causes your brain to experience a slight pressure buildup that leads to dizziness. Vertigo causes nausea and sensations similar to motion sickness.
This can also happen due to concussions, altitude changes, hearing loss, a sinus infection or sinus headaches, high blood pressure or low blood pressure, tinnitus, and many others.
There are two things that cause vertigo. Both of these can happen at the same time or they can happen independently of each other. The effect is basically the same, but the treatment can be different.
The two parts of your body that can be affected in such a way that vertigo is induced are your brain and ears.
In the inner ear, the small hairs and organs that give your brain information on your state of balance are very vulnerable to pressure. In your head itself, the parts of the brain that deal with such information can also be stimulated by pressure.
Other causes include ear infections where a fluid buildup occurs in the sinus cavities and most respiratory conditions including bronchitis.
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Steroid Preparations For The Nose
Steroid sprays are often used for nasal congestion, particularly when it is caused by allergies such as hay fever or by nasal polyps. Steroid sprays work by reducing the swelling of the inside of the nose. The spray should be applied directly to the inside of the nose. Steroid nasal sprays are safe for adults to use in the long term if needed. There are several types of steroid spray and they come in several brands. Some are available to buy from chemists or supermarkets for others you will need a prescription. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before using a steroid spray for nasal congestion. See the separate leaflet called Steroid Nasal Sprays for more details.
Steroid nasal drops are more readily absorbed than sprays and can cause similar side-effects to steroid tablets. They should therefore be used cautiously and for the shortest possible time.
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Runny Nose And Postnasal Drip
When you have a sinus infection, you may need to blow your nose often because of nasal discharge, which can be cloudy, green, or yellow. This discharge comes from your infected sinuses and drains into your nasal passages.
The discharge may also bypass your nose and drain down the back of your throat. You may feel a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.
Getting Rid Of Head Congestion
Youve got a head cold, your sinuses are filled with mucus that is not draining, and you are suffering from severe stuffiness. Your main focus is on how to stop head congestion. So, are there head congestion remedies you can use to loosen its hold on your head? As it turns out, quite a few home remedies and medical treatments could help clean out your sinuses and get you back to breathing normally.