Sinusitis involves inflammation or swelling of the tissues lining the sinuses. The sinuses or cavities generate thin mucus that drains out of the nasal channels. The drainage keeps the nose clean and free from any bacteria or particles. Normally, the sinuses are filled with air, but if they become congested and filled with fluid, bacteria can thrive inside and trigger an infection.
An acute case includes abrupt onset of cold symptoms that does not settle after 10 days or the symptoms that appear to improve but returns worse than the initial symptoms. Generally, it responds well to decongestants and antibiotics.
Who are at risk?
On a yearly basis, many individuals all over the globe suffer from at least one episode of viral sinusitis while some develop the bacterial form.
Individuals with the following conditions face a higher risk for the condition:
- Swollen nasal mucus membrane due to allergies or common cold
- Structural issues that narrow the drainage ducts
- Obstructed drainage ducts that traps mucus
- Conditions that increases the risk for infection
The main indications of acute sinusitis include the following:
- Nasal stuffiness
- Facial pain, tenderness or pressure
- Cough or congestion
- Loss of taste and smell
- Nasal drainage, usually yellowish or greenish from the nose
Additional symptoms that might arise include ear pain, fever of 102 degrees F or higher, fatigue, headache, bad breath and aching sensation in the upper jaw and teeth.
Management of acute sinusitis
For acute sinusitis, the doctor might suggest treatment involving decongestants and over-the-counter medications for common cold and allergy, increasing the intake of fluids and nasal saline irrigation.
In case the symptoms do not settle after at least 10 days, appear to worsen or medication for allergy and common cold are not effective, a bacterial infection might be responsible. In such cases, antibiotics are prescribed for 7 days for adults and 10 days for children. The antibiotics should improve the symptoms within 48 hours.
Topical or oral decongestants can be prescribed to alleviate the symptoms. The prescribed intranasal steroid sprays might be given to manage the symptoms. Nevertheless, the over-the-counter sprays or drops must not be used longer than 5 days.