What is ethmoid sinusitis?

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Ethmoid sinusitis occurs if mucus backs up into the sinuses and trigger an infection. The sinuses are cavities in the head that are filled with air. The ethmoid sinuses are found close to the nose bridge.

The infection is usually due to the swelling of the nasal passages. Allergies or upper respiratory infections can lead to ethmoid sinusitis.

What are the usual causes?

Certain conditions that affect the structure of the sinuses or the flow of the nasal secretions can lead to sinusitis such as:

  • Allergies
  • Upper respiratory infection
    The application of a warm compress on the face can help ease the pressure and pain.
  • Common cold
  • Foreign objects in the nose
  • Deviated septum
  • Trauma to the face and nose
  • Dental infection
  • Nasal polyps
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Enlarged adenoids


Due to the closeness of the ethmoid sinuses near the tear ducts, there are more eye-related symptoms. There is pain in between the eyes along with tenderness if the bridge of the nose is touched.

Oftentimes, the area around the eyes become swollen, especially upon waking up. Upon standing, the sinuses can effectively drain throughout the day to minimize the swelling.

Other indications of ethmoid sinusitis include:

  • Dense nasal secretions
  • Facial swelling
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose that lasts longer than 10 days
  • Sore throat
  • Generalized malaise or fatigue
  • Bad breath
  • Postnasal drip
  • Sinus headaches
  • Diminished sense of taste and smell


The treatment for ethmoid sinusitis involve a varied approach that includes home measures or even surgery for severe cases.

Over-the-counter measures

Over-the-counter pain medications can relieve the discomfort caused by ethmoid sinusitis such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin. As a short-term solution for runny nose, steroid nasal sprays can be used.

Home remedies

  • The application of a warm compress on the face can help ease the pressure and pain.
  • Inhaling steam in the shower can also help. An alternative is to place boiled water in a pot or pan where the individual leans forward with a towel over head as the steam is inhaled.
  • Raise the head while sleeping to promote nasal drainage
  • Keep the body properly hydrated by drinking a lot of water to thin out the mucus
  • Irrigate the nasal passages using a nasal saline spray several times a day to keep them moist

Prescription treatments

The doctor might prescribe antibiotics to reduce the number of bacteria such as azithromycin, amoxicillin and erythromycin.

urgical intervention

Surgery is the approach used if the previous measures are not effective. Take note that sinus surgery might involve removal of the damaged tissues, widening of the nasal passages and fixing any anatomical irregularities such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps.

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