Sinusitis is considered as a common condition where the lining of the sinuses are swollen. This is typically due to a viral infection and often improves within 2-3 weeks.
The sinuses are small cavities filled with air behind the cheekbones and forehead. The mucus that is generated by the sinuses typically drain into the nose via small-sized channels. If an individual has sinusitis, these channels are blocked due to the inflammation of the sinus lining.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Sinusitis typically develops after the individual acquires an upper respiratory tract infection such as common cold. If the individual has a persistent cold and develops the following symptoms, it indicates sinusitis.
- Clogged or blocked nose
- Yellow or greenish discharge from the nose
- Sinus headache
- Tenderness and pain around the eyes, cheeks or forehead
- High body temperature or fever of 38 degrees C or higher
- Bad breath
- Diminished sense of smell
Children who develop sinusitis can become irritable, breathe via the mouth and have difficult feeding. In most cases, the speech has a nasal sound as if he/she has a stuffy cold. Always bear in mind that the symptoms often subside within a few weeks but in some cases, it can last for up to 3 months or longer.
When to consult a doctor
In case the symptoms are mild and start to subside, there is no need to consult a doctor and several measures can be carried out at home.
A doctor should be consulted if the symptoms are severe or continue to worsen, symptoms do not seem to improve after 7-10 days and there are episodes of frequent sinusitis. The doctor will properly diagnose sinusitis based on the symptoms and by carefully assessing the interior of the nose.
If the individual has severe or recurrent sinusitis, he/she will be referred to a specialist for further assessment.
Treatment for sinusitis
Many individuals with sinusitis usually feel better within 2-3 weeks and the condition can be managed at home. The symptoms can be relieved with the help of the following:
- Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol
- Applying warm packs on the face
- Nasal decongestants (just remember not to use more than a week since it can make the condition even worse)
- Regular cleaning of the interior of the nose using saline solution. This can be done at home by using a solution bought at the drugstore or pharmacy.
In case the symptoms to do not seem to improve or getting worse, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics or corticosteroid drops or spray to check if they have an effect. If the symptoms do not subside after these treatments are used, the individual might be referred to a specialist for surgery in order to improve the drainage of the sinuses.