Experts at Mediclinic Parkview talk about dealing with sinusitis the correct way
10 June 2019| Last updated on 5 August 2019
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining of the nose and sinuses and can be classified as either acute or chronic:
Acute sinusitis is characterized by:
- Discomfort or pain over the face
- Thick yellow or green nasal discharge
- Nasal blockage
- Post nasal drip (mucus over the back of the throat)
- Sore throat
- Ear pain
- Tooth ache in the upper jaw
Chronic sinusitis is an infection which lasts more than 12 weeks, or repeated sinus infections in a year despite using medication.
Although patients do not experience pain over the face, they may have:
- A dull ache over the affected sinus
- Post nasal drip
- Foul smell
- Nasal block
- Decreased sensation to smell
Causes of Sinusitis
- Loose lining within the nose: Growths such as polyps can obstruct the sinus passages
- Deviation of the nasal cartilage: A bend inside the nose may block the sinus openings and interfere with drainage
- Recurrent cold and nasal allergy: This causes inflammation and swelling of the tissues in the nose and blockage of the nasal passages
- Other medical conditions such as: Cystic fibrosis, immune system related diseases can cause thickened secretions and block the nose
Exposure to pollutants such as cigarette smoke, industrial gases, chemicals, asthma and allergy to Asprin can aggravate symptoms.
Symptoms of Concern
- High fever
- Swelling or redness around your eyes
- Severe headache
- Double vision or other vision changes
- Stiff neck
Acute sinusitis is treated medically with anti-inflammatory medication, nasal decongestants, saline sprays and possibly a course of antibiotics. Symptoms usually resolve in a week.
The management of Chronic sinusitis involves investigations to identify the cause of repeated infections, which include a nasal endoscopy and CT scan.
Sinus surgery is only considered if medical treatment fails. The primary aim of surgery is to widen the area where the sinuses open into the nose, so as to improve ventilation in the sinuses as well as to facilitate drainage.
The extent of surgery depends on the severity of the disease and extent of involvement within the sinuses. These operations are performed endoscopically and without an external incision.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
- Fluids: Drinking plenty of water helps to dilute secretions and promotes drainage.
- Steam inhalation
- Moisturize your sinus cavities: Drape a towel over your head as you breathe in the vapor from a bowl of medium-hot water. Keep the vapor directed toward your face. Take a hot shower, breathing in the warm, moist air to help ease pain and help mucus drain.
- Apply warm compresses to your face: Place warm, damp towels around your nose, cheeks and eyes to ease facial pain.
- Rinse out your nasal passages: Use a specially designed squeeze bottle or neti pot to rinse your nasal passages. This home remedy, called nasal lavage, can help clear your sinuses. Salt water solutions are available commercially or you can make your own rinse at home. Use water that's contaminant-free — distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled to make up the irrigation solution and add a sachet of salt to it. Mix well before cleaning the nose. Be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with contaminant-free water, and let it air-dry.
- Sleep with your head elevated: This will help your sinuses drain, reducing congestion.
Dr. Crystal Smith
DLO, DNB (ENT), European Board (ORL – Head & Neck Surgery)
Mediclinic Parkview Hospital