Years ago people used to believe that if you screamed, the vibrations would clean out the sinuses that were causing the problem. Let us all agree that screaming is not the answer. Let us define sinus infection first. According to emedicine health a sinus infection, or sinusitis, is an inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages. A sinus infection can cause a headache or pressure in the eyes, nose, cheek area, or on one side of the head. A person may also have a cough, a fever, bad breath, and nasal congestion with thick nasal secretions.
Sinus infections are categorized as acute, which has a sudden onset and chronic which is the most common and is long term.
The big difference between acute and chronic sinus infection is that an acute infection starts quickly and last about a week, whereas a chronic infection can last months and be very difficult to get rid of and can reoccur.
There are several common causes for chronic sinus infections:
- Airborne fungi
- Nasal or sinus obstructions
- Facial trauma
- Respiratory tract infections
- Some medical conditions
- Symptoms of a chronic sinus infection
- Difficulty breathing
- Reduced sense of smell
- Ear pain
- Sore throat
- Aching in the upper jaw or teeth
Most people will try to self medicate their sinus problem away and it may help the symptoms especially if it is for the acute kind of sinus infection. However if you are battling chronic sinus infection and not getting any better then it is time to go see you doctor.
He will go over your medical history with you and give you an exam, looking in your mouth and nose, feeling around at glands and other things. He will most likely order some tests that will help him diagnose your problem and to rule out other things.
Test that may be performed:
- MRI-Like an X-ray it will show details of your sinuses and nasal areas
- CT scans-Like an X-ray or MRI it will give exact details of the sinus and nasal cavities
- Nasal endoscopy-a thin flexible tube is threaded up your nose that has a light to see what is happening up there. Some now have small cameras to take pictures or watch on a screen. It is not a real comfortable procedure and is usually given as a final resort to see what is wrong.
- Taking sinus cultures – The take a sample to see if anything will grow in the laboratory then they can prescribe the right antibiotic
- Allergy test-Different allergens are injected usually into your back to see if the cause of your chronic sinus infection is due to an allergy of something.
After the tests are done, the doctor will see you and go over the results with you. He will explain what he found and if you have any questions or concerns this is the time to ask them. He will most likely prescribe antibiotics. If you have a lot of swelling and inflammation in the nasal or sinus cavities then he can order a corticosteroid to help reduce it. For symptom relief he will prescribe antihistamines, decongestants or expectorants.
There are a few other things your doctor may try: the first is called humidification and is simply loosening and then moisturizing cavity. Another thing he can do if the chronic problem is due to allergies is called immunotherapy. What this is, is a method deliberate to motivate the antibodies that obstruct the body’s reactions to a particular allergy.
Both types of sinus infections can be prevented if you follow certain steps and if you are prone to chronic sinus infections then it is important that you do these as they will help keep you from being sick for long periods.
The following are steps to prevent a chronic sinus infection:
- Get your flu shot
- Get pneumonia shot
- Use proper hygiene
- Keep hydrated
- Keep away from people with colds and infections
- Use a humidifier in your home
- If your sinuses are dry because of living conditions then use a saline nasal spray
- Stay out of closed places with smokers
Chronic diseases even sinus infections are not to be taken lightly, they are serious problems in your daily health life. See your doctor for health and follow what they tell you. Keep in touch and let them know your progress. Anything bad that happens to your body chronically takes a toll on you in more ways than just your health so get a grip on it and find ways to be healthier.