Sinusitis is a significant health issue in the US. According to the CDC, close to 30 million Americans are diagnosed with sinusitis. It costs Americans over $1 billion in over-the-counter medications every year. Worse still is how it reduces one’s quality of life.
Let’s take a pause with the statistics and look at what sinusitis is. Sinusitis is an inflammation in the sinuses. The inflammation causes pressure, swelling, and pain in the sinuses. And what are sinuses? These are the hollow moist spaces that are usually found behind the bones of your face, and they drain through your nose.
When sinusitis lasts for more than 12 weeks, it is then considered chronic sinusitis (also known as chronic rhinosinusitis). In other words, chronic sinusitis occurs when your sinuses become inflamed and swollen for more than 12 weeks, even after several medications.
Typical chronic sinusitis interferes with how your mucus drains, and as a result, your nose becomes stuffy. Your breathing also becomes compromised, and you may swell around your eyes. To note is that chronic sinusitis affects both children and adults in equal measure.
By now, you may be having tons of questions going through your head. What are the causes of chronic sinusitis? Is it manageable? Can it be treated? Well, be sure to read through the article to get all the answers to your questions.
Symptoms of chronic sinusitis
The truth is not all sinusitis is chronic. You will have to experience some of the following symptoms for your sinusitis to be considered chronic.
• Trouble tasting or smelling food
• Green or yellow mucus
• Mucus leaking from the back of your throat postnasal drip
• Pain in your years
• Headache brought by swelling and pressure in your sinuses
• Sore throat
• Bad breath
What causes chronic sinusitis?
There are many causes of sinusitis. However, it always develops when fluids lodges in your sinuses. Some of the causes include:
• Respiratory tract infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi
• Environment irritants
• Unmanaged allergies like hay fever
• Nasal polyps
• Crooked nasal septum
• Medical conditions like HIV
Existing health conditions and the make-up of your anatomy can increase the chances of you getting chronic sinusitis. These factors are:
• A crooked septum
• A dental infection
• Sensitive to aspirin
• An immune disorder
There are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of chronic sinusitis. Amazingly, there are also some home remedies you can use to manage this condition.
Prevention home remedies
As the words suggest, these are home remedies. You get to perform most of them in the comfort of your home. And as if that is not enough, you don’t get to spend anything. These include:
• Avoiding polluted air
• Avoid smoking
• Washing your hands frequently to prevent fungi and bacteria
• Use humidifiers to add moisture to the air
• Avoid allergens
• Treating allergies as per doctor’s instructions
• Closing the windows at night
What if I already have chronic sinusitis? Can I manage it? Well, most of the conditions are manageable, and so is chronic sinusitis. Let’s see how.
How to manage chronic sinusitis
If you are wondering whether you can manage sinusitis, the answer is yes. However, it’s imperative you manage the condition only after seeking treatment from a doctor. The DIY steps below with help you relieve the symptoms of chronic sinusitis These are:
• Inhaling steam to drain off the mucus and loosen blockages in the sinuses
• Massaging the sinuses
• Rinsing the sinuses and nose with a saline solution
• Taking plenty of water
• Using decongestants
• Taking pain relievers
What are the treatment options for chronic sinusitis?
The main aim of treating chronic sinusitis is to reduce mucosal edema, eradicate the infection, and promote sinus drainage. Your doctor needs to do a physical examination before administering any treatment.
He or she will first take a medical history of your symptoms. Then they will conduct a physical examination by looking through your nose. Chronic sinusitis treatment usually varies depending on the condition’s cause or any underlying issue you may have.
Let’s explore the common treatment options for chronic sinusitis.
Nasal corticosteroids: These are steroid drugs that help in the healing of your body. How so? They reduce inflammation and give you relief from some of the symptoms you may have. For better results, use corticosteroids regularly.
Nasal corticosteroids come with benefits as well as some risk. The best thing, therefore, is to talk to your doctor.
Nasal irrigation: Under nasal irrigation, you use non-prescribed treatment, such as neti pots, saline sprays, or any other device that can flush out sinuses. The method will clear out infection and reduce any irritation.
Antibiotics: Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics if the cause of chronic sinusitis is a bacterial infection.
Immunotherapy: If allergies are the cause of your sinusitis, allergy shots (immunotherapy) will be administered to reduce your body’s reaction to allergens.
Surgery: This method is considered as the last option where medication and management aren’t working. Surgery aims to clean your sinuses. The doctor varies instruments to use depending on the source of obstruction.
Sometimes it can be done by inserting a balloon into your sinus cavity. The procedure helps in opening up your nasal cavity, creating more room. If balloon dilation fails, your sinuses may be removed.
Do you need hospital admission for surgery? Not really. This procedure may even take place in your doctor’s office.
Chronic sinusitis can be intensively painful. Even worse, when left untreated, it can lead to severe complications like:
• Loss of vision
• Permanent loss of smell
• Infections that may spread to your bones or skin
The beauty is that your chronic sinusitis can be fully treated depending on the cause. Sometimes, you may require a long-term treatment plan to maintain your everyday life. But the good thing is that medication and home remedies can go a long way in alleviating the symptoms of chronic sinusitis as you wait to get well.
Are you still confused about chronic sinusitis? Be at ease. If you are in Philadelphia and its environs, there is a sinus doctor to help with your chronic sinus issues. They will attend to any questions that you might have. Better yet, you will receive a comprehensive diagnosis if you are having symptoms akin to chronic sinusitis. Please call or visit us today.