Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses that can be caused by a fungus, a bacterium or a virus, or an allergy. Paranasal sinuses are small voids filled with air; in the frontal part of the skull, located above the nose, that is, in the forehead. Ethmoidal sinuses are located on the sides of the nose, between the bones, and maxillary sinuses are located in cheeks. In normal situations, the air passes through the sinuses without the problem. However, people with sinusitis have blocked these spaces and suffer discomfort and difficulties when breathing.
Causes of Maxillary Sinuses
Excess mucus and blocking of the sinus openings make bacteria, and other microorganisms reproduce more easily and cause sinusitis. The main causes of mucus segregation and / or paranasal sinus tamponade are:
- The cilia (hairs that are placed inside the paranasal openings) do not manage to remove the mucus due to some affection.
- A nasal bone spur, a deviated septum, or the presence of nasal polyps block the paranasal sinuses.
- Allergies and colds cause excessive secretion of mucus.
In addition, there are a number of risk factors that increase the possibility of suffering this pathology:
- Have cystic fibrosis.
- Suffer from allergic rhinitis or hay fever.
- Having some disease that makes the function of Cilia difficult.
- Having a weak immune system due to HIV or treatments such as chemotherapy.
- Hypertrophy of adenoids ( lymphatic tissue found in the airways between the nose and the back of the throat).
- Subjection to forces such as gravity and pressure: fly, dive, mountaineering, etcetera.
The main symptoms of this disease are:
- Pain and pressure behind the eyes and in the maxillofacial area.
- Secretion and nasal congestion.
- Loss of sense of smell.
- Fatigue and general malaise.
- A sore throat and drip between nose and pharynx.
- A cough that tends to get worse at night.
In acute sinusitis, these symptoms usually appear after the seventh day of a cold that has not improved or even worsened. In the case of chronic sinusitis, the symptoms are similar, although milder. Although it is not uncommon for complications to occur, sinusitis can lead to an abscess (the appearance of pus in a particular area causing pain and inflammation), meningitis, osteomyelitis, and skin infection around the eyes.
When To Go To The doctor?
You should see a specialist in any of these cases:
- Symptoms last more than 14 days or a cold gets worse after 7 days.
- Fever occurs.
- You have a severe headache.
- Symptoms are still present after antibiotic treatment.
- There is a change in vision during an infection.
The best method to prevent sinusitis is to try to avoid colds and flu through good nutrition (fruits, vegetables, and foods containing antioxidants, vitamin C and other substances that boost the immune system), reducing stress and anxiety and, Especially, to be vaccinated every year against the influenza virus.
Tips to avoid sinusitis:
- Increase the humidity of the body and sinus pathways by ingesting fluids, especially water, and using a humidifier.
- Quickly and effectively tackle allergies.
- Avoid smoke and polluting spaces.
- Administer decongestants if you have an infection of the respiratory tract.
Types of Sinusitis
There are two types of sinusitis, which are determined by the duration of the disease and its symptoms:
Acute Sinusitis: The symptoms of the disease do not persist for more than four weeks. It is caused by the eruption of bacteria in the sinuses.
Chronic Sinusitis: In this case, symptoms are present for more than three months. In addition to bacteria, it can also be caused by fungi.
To diagnose a possible case of sinusitis, the specialist can perform several tests and tests:
Rhinoscopy: It is a nasal endoscopy through which a tube is inserted to see the paranasal sinuses.
CT Scan: To see the paranasal openings and observe the state of the tissues and bones.
MRI Scan: To check the possible presence of tumors and infections in the paranasal sinuses.
Transillumination : The specialist projects a light into the nostrils to see if they are inflamed or not.
Pressure : Pressure the sinus area to cause pain, which means there is infection or inflammation.
Although in most cases acute sinusitis disappears over time, treatment with antibiotics, which lasts approximately 14 days, is sometimes necessary. In the case of chronic sinusitis, the disease should be treated for three to four weeks and, if caused by the presence of a fungus, specific treatments for mycotic infections will be necessary.
Nasal sprays with corticosteroids and antihistamines may also be needed to reduce swelling in case of nasal polyps while using allergy shots can prevent the disease from recurring once it has healed.
If the symptoms do not disappear after three months of treatment or if there are more than three episodes of acute sinusitis per year, surgical intervention may be necessary to widen the openings and drain the sinuses. Most nose infections caused by fungi need surgery.
Self-care may also help reduce sinus congestion. Before a case of sinusitis, the following recommendations can be taken into account to treat and reduce the symptoms of this pathology:
- Drink lots of liquid to thin out the secretions.
- Inhale vapor, two to four times a day.
- Use a humidifier to reduce environmental dryness.
- Apply hot and damp cloths to the face several times a day.
- Use nasal decongestants.
Complications of sinusitis:
Most common complications:
Asthma Crisis: Chronic sinusitis can trigger breathing difficulties and asthma attacks.
Vision Problems: If the infection spreads to the eye, it can cause vision loss or even blindness.
Aneurysms or blood Clots: Sinusitis can cause problems in the veins surrounding the paranasal sinuses, interfering with the blood supply to the brain and putting you at risk of having a stroke.
Meningitis: This infection causes inflammation of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.