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There are empty pockets of spaces within our face called sinuses. Normally, mucus are produced regularly from the sinuses drains into our nasal cavity. However there maybe certain illness or conditions that prevents this normal drainage of mucus out of the sinuses. When fluid builds up in this air-filled pockets, germs can grow in them. When the sinuses becomes infected, sinusitis occurs.
Risk Factors of Sinusitis
Risk factors of sinusitis includes
- a prior upper respiratory tract infection
- pre-existing allergic rhinitis
- structural problem with the sinuses such as growths on the lining of the nose or sinus known as nasal polyps
- enlarged adenoids
- a weakened immune system
- smoking or second hand smoke
In general, anything that can obstruct the drainage of the sinuses can result in mucus collection within the sinus , resulting in sinusitis
Symptoms of Sinusitis
Common symptoms of sinusitis includes
- persistent runny and stuffy nose that may last more than a week
- thick greenish or yellowish mucus
- facial pain or pressure
- persistent tiredness
- mucus dripping down the back of the throat , medically we call this post nasal drip
- cough and sore throat
If you develop these symptoms, please see your medical provider right away.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Sinusitis
Diagnosis of sinusitis can be clinical one based on your history and physical examinations.
Some investigations that doctors can order to confirm the diagnosis includes
- Sinus xray : where we can see some haziness within the sinuses
- CT scans : again visualising the haziness within the sinuses
- Antibiotics in most cases to kill the bacteria and reduce the inflammation
- Mucolytics like fluimicil or Vasican to allow them to flow out of the sinuses more easily
- Nasal decongestants ( either oral or nasal spray ) to reduce the obstruction of the drainage of the sinuses.
- pain relievers
And when all else fails, referral to the ENT specialists may be necessary in some cases for surgical treatment.
Some home remedy that you can also try includes
- drinking warm or hot water
- over the counter nasal decongestant and saline nasal flush
- breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or hot shower
- sleeping on your side or prop yourself up with a pillow to breathe better
- eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and fruits
Despite early and prompt medical treatment , sinusitis tends to need time to heal.
And it can sometimes take as long as 2 to 4 weeks for recovery.
By : Dr Chen Yiming
Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)