Seasonal allergies can be a nuisance with all the sneezing, sniffing, and nasal drainage, but sometimes, what starts out as allergies can lead to something more. Sinusitis (inflammation in nasal passages) can follow allergies or cold, increasing sinus pressure and pain. It can make any season seem impossible to bear. Sinusitis can last for days or even weeks. Fortunately, several treatment options are available. Read on to learn about Sinusitis, it’s causes, symptoms, as well as temporary and permanent treatment options.
What is Sinus Infection?
Your sinuses are cavities filled with air and are situated:
- In front of your brain, behind your nose
- Either side of the bridge of your nose
- Inside your cheeks’ bony structure
- Behind your forehead and eyebrows
Sinus infection or Sinusitis is an inflammation of your sinuses. It can be of two forms:
- Acute Sinusitis: Acute or temporary Sinusitis usually goes away on its own after a few weeks.
- Chronic Sinusitis: Chronic Sinusitis lasts longer than 8-12 weeks and may occur multiple times a year and requires treatment.
Sinus Infection Causes
Causes of Sinusitis include:
- Fungal Infections (typically seen in individuals with an underlying problem with their immune system or sinuses).
- Viral Infections, e.g. the common cold.
- Bacterial Infections (typically it’s a complication of viral Sinusitis).
Sinus Infection Symptoms
The main symptoms of sinus infection include:
- Reduced sense of taste or smell.
- Mucus running down the back of the throat causing irritation.
- Either runny nose or blocked nose.
- Pressure or pain felt in the face.
Additional symptoms may include:
- Pain in the upper jaw and/or teeth
- Swelling around the eyes
- Bad breath
- Facial tenderness
Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis are similar to those of Acute Sinusitis, but they last relatively longer. Fever is usually not a common symptom of Chronic Sinusitis.
How to Treat Sinusitis
Most of the treatment options for Sinusitis are intended to give temporary relief from the occurring symptoms. These include the following:
If you believe you are suffering from a sinus infection, you could try some home remedies first in order to open your blocked sinuses and reduce the swelling. Some of the things you can try include:
- Inhaling steam
- Using decongestants (nasal spray or by mouth)
- Using nasal spray wash
- Using acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) for the pain
Since allergy-related inflammation is the primary cause of Chronic Sinusitis, you can relieve its symptoms by diagnosing and treating allergies. There are allergy medicines that can help you in this regard. These include:
- Leukotriene inhibitors
- Anti-inflammatory medicines
Corticosteroid nasal sprays and blends such as SINUS BLEND (MUP) can also help to cure nasal swelling and relieve sinus inflammation. If they don’t help, then you might need to use oral steroids like prednisone. You might also need antibiotics along with your nasal or oral corticosteroids. If controlling your allergies seems to be difficult, an allergy specialist can provide you with testing for certain allergies and administer immunotherapy to treat your symptoms.
How to Cure Sinus Permanently
While the treatments listed above can help, they are not always effective for sinus infection, particularly if its Chronic Sinusitis. So, if you often suffer from sinus pressure, pain, or infections, you might be looking for a more permanent treatment.
Permanent treatments for Sinusitis and sinus pressure are sometimes possible, but it can depend on the reasons why you are affected:
- If your symptoms are linked to infections, then simple steps such as getting a flu shot, washing hands regularly, etc. can reduce the chances that you will be affected again.
- If your sinus infection is related to allergies, then it is recommended that you try allergy testing to determine the cause and then take steps needed to avoid the trigger. Although this isn’t always an effective solution when it comes to preventing the symptoms from returning, it can make a big difference.
- If the reason why you are more susceptible to sinus infection is physical, it may be possible to treat it through surgery and prevent the symptoms from returning in the future.
Should You Have Sinus Surgery?
If there is a specific structural problem that is causing sinus pressure or sinus infection, then an ENT specialist may be able to correct it through surgery. To find out whether sinus surgery is a good idea, it is recommended that you contact an ENT specialist. The doctor will check and determine if surgery is possible and then discuss the benefits as well as the risks with you in detail. Having the procedure could cure the sinus permanently and improve your breathing.