Sinusitis

Sinusitis results from inflammation of the sinuses. These are the air-filled, hollow cavities in the skull. This inflammation may be caused either by infections, by allergies or by any other irritant.

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

Individuals suffering from sinusitis experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Facial tenderness
  • Pressure or pain
  • Fever

Sneezing is a common symptom in sinusitis resulting from an allergic reaction. In addition, some people may report tooth or ear pain, fatigue or bad breath.

How is sinusitis diagnosed?

Clinical examination by a skilled physician easily establishes a diagnosis of sinusitis even without laboratory tests. Clinical findings pointing to sinusitis include:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Pain in the forehead and areas over the sinuses
  • Puffy eyes and cheeks
  • Red, stuffy nasal passages

More in-depth laboratory tests are not necessary in most cases, but if needed these may include CT or MRI scans. Rhinoscopy, performed by skilled physicians, allows for direct viewing of the back of the nasal passages.

How is sinusitis treated?

In most cases, treatment is focused on alleviating symptoms such as pain and fever. Decongestants and mucolytics are also given; however, antibiotics are only given if cases are suspected to be bacterial in origin.

What are the complications of sinusitis?

Serious complications arising from sinusitis are rare. However, there have been cases of infection of the brain resulting from sinusitis causing dangerous cases of meningitis and brain abscess.

Can sinusitis be prevented?

No vaccines are available against all of the organisms that cause sinusitis and there are no vaccination programs directly targeting sinusitis.

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