Sinusitis- whether chronic or acute, is distressing and tiresome for all the sufferers. It is commonly observed and affects a massive group of patients in the United States. Despite its common occurrence, acute or chronic sinusitis is often misunderstood by a lot of people. Many sufferers often seek an incorrect treatment and diagnosis that do not help in getting rid of the disorder. Prior to buying any drug for tackling sinusitis, her are a few things that you should know:

Difference between Acute & Chronic Sinusitis

Difference between Acute & Chronic Sinusitis

The skull has small cavities which are full of air, and these are known as sinuses. They generate mucus that helps in keeping you nasal passages clean from pollutants and allergens.

An inflammation is caused in the tissues that are lined around the cavities and this condition is called as sinusitis. In few patients, the swelling of the tissue blocks the passage and mucus gets trapped inside it. This can result in some amount of pain or pressure and can give rise to bacterial infection as well. Sinusitis is basically of two types:

  • Acute Sinusitis - Can stay up to four-five weeks.
  • Chronic Sinusitis - Stays more than 6 months and can continue to trouble for years. The root of chronic sinusitis can be tough to treat and diagnose.

The primary inflammation of sinuses can be triggered by allergies or cold. Patients who develop a low immune system often develop sinusitis due to fungus. At times, the design of the nasal-passage gets de-structured when chronic sinusitis affects an individual. The nasal polyp that is formed can block the passages and affect the draining of mucus.

Acute & Chronic Sinusitis Show Similar Signs and Symptoms:

  • Nose blockage
  • Facial tension and pain
  • Hard discolored mucus.

Treatment for Acute and Chronic Sinusitis

Luckily, there is treatment available for all types of sinusitis and the key aspect lies in figuring out the exact cause of these problems. If the sinusitis is because of allergens, using decongestants will not help in coping with the condition.

If you observe certain symptoms of sinusitis, consult a physician. With a better examination and certain tests like CT scans, MRIs or X-rays, you may get an idea about the root of the condition that leads to this problem. The best treatment approach for sinusitis or sinus infection is by using an alliance of medications and a variety of self care treatments that may be recommended by a health care practitioner.

Medication Treatment for Handling Acute and Chronic Sinusitis

  • Antibiotics for Sinusitis or Sinus Infection: If your physician thinks that the sinusitis is caused due to a bacterial infection, then you might be set on an antibiotic medication. The course may last for 10-14 days for acute sinusitis. A longer duration of medication may be necessary for treating chronic sinusitis. It is however necessary to understand that antibiotics will only help in treating bacterial infections, but not any other viral problems. Certain studies also suggest that antibiotics are often overused for treating sinusitis that is caused by bacteria.
  • Painkillers for Treating Sinusitis or Sinus Infection: Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for pain are suggested for people suffering from sinusitis and acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be used for reducing the discomfort. Make sure to follow the right instruction that is suggested by the doctor and the course should not exceed a period of 10 days.
  • Decongestants for Handling Sinusitis or Sinus Infection: Over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants can be used for reducing the mucus that is trapped in the sinuses. Some nasal sprays such as Afrinand Dristan and pills like Sudafed or Contac may be prescribed by the doctor. However, if the nasal spray is used for three or more days, it can cause more congestion in some cases. This is why; the oral decongestants are not liable for usage that exceeds to more than one week or so.
  • Allergy Medications for Sinusitis or Sinus Infection: A series of uncontrolled allergies can often cause sinusitis. If you have not been diagnosed with allergies, antihistamines and maintaining a healthy environmental condition can be of great help. The condition can be controlled with the help of allergy shots as well. A long term treatment may also help in reducing the allergen sensitivity that is a major cause in sinusitis.
  • Steroids for Addressing Sinusitis or Sinus Infection: Inhaled steroids may be prescribed by the doctor in some cases. This will help in reducing the swelling of the tissues that line the membranes of the sinuses. For chronic sinusitis, some oral steroids may also be suggested.

Surgical Treatment for Chronic Sinusitis

If the symptoms of chronic sinusitis do not show any improvement, even after taking a regular dose of antibiotics and you are still suffering from the sinus infection, your doctor may recommend Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS).

FESS (Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery) is a commonly known operation done for treating sinusitis and the symptoms of sinus infection can be relieved easily. The entire procedure is carried out general anesthetic, but it may also be offered under a local anesthetic where only the nose is numb.

A surgeon will insert an endoscope in the nose and begin with the medical procedure. Endoscope is a thin tube that that has lens on the other end that allows the doctor to get a magnified view of your internal nose structure. Through the lens, the drainage channels of your sinuses will be clearly seen and treated by the surgeon depending on the blockage. Either of the two ways will be adopted by the surgeon:

  • Removal of tissue like nasal polyps or growths that are blocking the passage of sinus that is affected.
  • Use balloon catheter dilation for opening up the passages that lead to the sinuses and unblock the drainage route.

The drainage passage of the sinus will be improved after this operation that will facilitate its proper functioning. At times, the surgeon may also put in some self-dissolving implants that will help in keeping the sinus open an then a steroid known as mometasone will be delivered for recovering the sinus lining that was swollen.

12 Home Remedies for Managing Sinusitis and Preventing its Triggers

While there are medications available for treating sinusitis or sinus infection, some may also get recovered on their own without any potential drugs or surgeries. The discomfort related to sinusitis or sinus infection can be relieved by using the following home remedies and by practicing the same approach for a long time; you can prevent the occurrence as well.

  1. Use Humidifiers to Get Help with Sinusitis or Sinus Infection: By using humidifiers in the rooms, the air will be humidified and made more liable for breathing. As per the instructions, be sure to clean them at regular intervals. A dirty filter can be a source of spraying mold into the air that surrounds your room.
  2. Inhale Steam Vapors to Overcome Sinusitis: You can do this by running a hot shower and sitting in the bathroom for inhaling the steam. You can also use steam vapors for reducing the nasal congestion and the swelling of the passages.
  3. Warm Heat Application is Helpful in Sinusitis: Place a wet, warm towel over your face and this may help in relieving some pressure from the sinuses.
  4. Flush the Sinuses Completely: Use salt water for irrigating the nasal passages that will help in keeping the sinus moist and free from all the debris. There are innumerable ways of doing it and one can use simple Neti pots, bulb syringes to expensive nasal irrigation systems. The irrigation solution should be made using distilled or boiled water to keep the solution germ-free. It is also necessary to maintain the irrigation system clean after every use and dry them in the open air.
  5. Consume lots of fluids: Drinking fluids will help in thinning down the mucus and reduce the blockages that are caused in the sinuses. You must also aim at reducing the alcohol consumption as it will worsen the sinus swelling.
  6. Rest: When you are suffering from a sinus infection, never stress out your body. Get adequate amount of sleep, so that your body gets time to recover from the condition.
  7. OTC (Over the Counter): Medicines for Sinusitis or Sinus Infection should not be overused. Painkiller and decongestants can help in keeping the symptoms low. Be sure to not overuse any medication as they may worsen the symptoms.
  8. Make the air clear and clean: If the air quality is poor, be sure to remain indoors and avoid smoking cigarettes as well. Puffing the cigarettes can often make sinusitis worse.
  9. Manage allergies: As allergies are the leading cause of sinusitis, you must always be aware of the allergens that trigger the condition. It is advisable to consult an allergist for getting a brief idea about the allergens that can affect you. Various desensitization treatments can be used for boosting the immune system.
  10. Avoid exposure to dry air or smoke: This can dry out the passages of sinuses and increase the irritation in the mucus membrane.
  11. Salt Water Nasal Irrigation for Sinusitis or Sinus Infection: A saline solution can be used for cleaning the nasal passages and has been effective in treating various nasal disorders as well as chronic sinusitis. Rinsing the nasal passage with salt water can keep the passage moist and reduce irritation. Drops of douches or a gentle Ocean Nasal Spray can be used and is available at all the leading drug stores. When a Neti pot is used for irrigating the passages, make sure to clean it well after each use.
  12. Lead a hygienic life: This does not mean maintaining a germ-free or sterile bubble as it is way too difficult to manage. This simply means following simple precautionary methods for staying away from various allergens. If someone near you is affected with flu or cold, stay away from the person or avoid sharing a common space.

While all these home self help treatments can help in treating sinusitis, many people have not been able to get rid of the symptoms. So, if you observe that the symptoms last even after following these remedies, consult a doctor. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you will feel better.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: July 29, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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