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What is Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining of the sinuses.

Sinuses are air-filled chambers located in the bones behind the cheeks, eyebrows and jaw. They produce mucus, which cleans bacteria and other particles from the air we breathe. Cilia, tiny hairs within the sinuses, move the mucus out through the nose for drainage.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

The treatment for sinusitis varies based on the underlying cause.

  • Saline nasal spray: Used to cleanse nasal passages and help clear congestion. 
  • Decongestants: May be prescribed to facilitate sinus drainage and relieve pain or pressure, generally recommended for short-term use only. 
  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can ease headaches and sinus pain. 
  • Antibiotics: For severe cases caused by bacterial infections, antibiotics may be prescribed for 10 to 14 days. It is important to complete the course of antibiotics.
What Causes It

Sinusitis can occur due to changes in temperature or air pressure, or anything causing sinus or hindering mucus clearance. Contributing factors can include:

  • Allergies
  • Excessive use of decongestant nasal sprays
  • Smoking
  • Swimming or diving
  • Nasal polyps (growths that block sinus passages)

When triggered by bacterial or viral infections, sinusitis turns into a sinus infection. Such infections may develop following a cold, where the virus attacks the sinus lining, causing swelling and narrowing. The body's response to produce more mucus, combined with the restricted drainage, creates an environment conducive to bacteria growth, potentially resulting in a sinus infection.

Sign & Symptoms
  • Pain or pressure in the forehead, cheeks, nose and between the eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Cough, which may worsen at night
  • Bad breath
  • Toothache
Post Op Care/Care Tips
  • Rest adequately and consider lying on your side or using a pillow for better breathing.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and sip hot water
  • Apply moist heat with a warm, wet towel on the face or inhale steam to relieve sinus pressure and open sinus passages.
  • Be cautious with over-the-counter cold medications, as they can exacerbate symptoms or cause other issues. Consult your doctor before use.
  • Avoid using a nasal spray with a decongestant for more than three days to prevent worsening sinus swelling upon stopping the use of the medicine.

For more information on our services at the Department of Otolaryngology, click here.

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