If you are one of the millions of Indians who suffer from sinus infections, you know how miserable they can be. Acute sinusitis is a common infection that can cause pain, pressure, and congestion in the sinuses.
Sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses, which are a part of the respiratory system. The sinuses are located in the head, behind and above the eyes, and on either side of the nose. Sinusitis can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus. It can also be caused by allergies or environmental factors.
Acute sinusitis is a particular type of sinus infection that is caused by bacteria and lasts for less than four weeks. If you are experiencing symptoms of acute sinusitis, it is important to seek treatment right away.
In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about acute sinusitis: from causes and symptoms to treatment options.
What is Acute Sinusitis?
Acute sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal cavities, and it can cause a variety of symptoms, including nasal congestion, fever, headache, tooth pain, and tenderness in the face. Acute sinusitis treatment may include antibiotics or natural remedies.
The main difference between acute sinusitis and chronic sinusitis is their duration: acute sinusitis lasts less than four weeks, while chronic sinusitis lasts more than twelve weeks.
It should be noted that some people use the terms “acute” and “chronic” to describe how severe a sinus infection feels, but this does not necessarily reflect its duration – for example, an infection can be severe but only last for a few days.
Sinus infections are caused by one of four things: bacteria, viruses, fungi, or allergies. Acute sinusitis is usually caused by a virus, and it’s the most common type of sinus infection. It can often be treated with antibiotics if it is caused by bacteria, but in many cases, acute sinusitis will go away on its own within a week or two.
Acute Sinusitis Causes
There are many different acute sinusitis causes, but the most common one is a viral infection. Other causes can include:
- Bacteria: A bacterial infection can cause acute sinusitis, and this type of infection usually requires antibiotics for treatment.
- Fungi: A fungal infection can also cause acute sinusitis, and it may require antifungal medications for treatment.
- Allergies: Allergies are a common cause of sinus infections, and they can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription medications.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to pollutants or other environmental irritants can also lead to an acute sinus infection.
- Nasal polyps: These small growths in your nasal passages can block the sinuses and lead to an infection. They may need surgical removal if they do not respond to medications.
In some cases, acute sinusitis is caused by a combination of these factors, but it’s usually one or two that are responsible for causing the infection.
Viruses (cold virus), bacteria from another source such as strep throat which spreads up into these passages during an episode where someone with this type of infection has had contact with someone else who was also experiencing similar issues – sometimes viruses like influenza types can make their way up into the sinuses causing them to become inflamed.
If you have chronic sinus infections (four times a year), then there may be another underlying cause, such as allergies or structural problems with your nose and throat that need treatment before you will see improvement in how often you get sick from this condition.
You should always consult with an ENT specialist who specializes in treating these conditions so they can properly diagnose what might be going on and provide a treatment plan that will work best for your situation.
Acute Sinusitis Symptoms
The symptoms of acute sinusitis vary in severity and duration. Some people only have mild symptoms, while others may experience severe symptoms that last for several weeks.
The most common acute sinusitis symptom is a runny or stuffy nose, but some people also experience facial pain or pressure in the area around their eyes and cheeks. These types of infections usually clear up within two weeks without treatment, but if they persist longer than four weeks, then it could be an indication that there are other factors contributing to your infection (such as allergies).
Other possible acute sinusitis symptoms include congestion, nasal discharge, cough, fever, and/or headache (especially over eyebrows), as well as pain when bending forward or blowing your nose. It’s important to note that not everyone experiences all these symptoms at once, so if you have a combination but are unsure if it means anything- contact the healthcare provider immediately!
Apart from these symptoms, some people may also experience the following discomfort:
- Tenderness and swelling over the sinuses
- A reduced sense of taste or smell
- Pain in upper teeth and jaw
- Fatigue and bad breath
If you have had any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, it may be indicative of chronic sinusitis, which will require a different treatment plan.
Acute Sinusitis Treatment
Most cases of acute sinusitis resolve on their own within a week or two without any specific treatment, but there are some things that you can do to help relieve your symptoms:
- Drink plenty of fluids (especially water) to help loosen mucous and promote drainage
- Use a humidifier to increase moisture in the air and help ease congestion
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever, pain, and inflammation
- Rest as much as possible
- Avoid smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- Try nasal irrigation with saline solution (recipe below)
- If your symptoms persist for more than a week or worsen after taking these steps, then you should contact your health care provider to see if further treatment is necessary.
How to do Nasal Irrigation?
Dissolve ¼ teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water. Lean over a sink and pour the saline solution into one nostril while closing off the other with a thumb. Tilt your head back so the liquid can flow through your sinuses and out the other nostril. Blow your nose gently to clear out any excess fluid. Repeat on the opposite side. Do this twice daily over the course of several days or until your symptoms improve.
For children under 12 years old, use ½ teaspoon salt instead of ¼ teaspoon per cup of water and make sure that they’re not using too much force when blowing their nose as this could cause irritation to mucous membranes in their sinuses (and possibly damage them).
If you have chronic sinusitis, then treatment is different from acute cases because there are a number of factors that can contribute to your condition, such as allergies or structural problems within your nasal passages such as polyps.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it’s important to see your health care provider as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. The sooner you get treatment, the more likely it will be effective at relieving your symptoms and preventing them from returning in the future.
Dr. Suhel Hasan | Senior Consultant E.N.T | Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bommasandra, Bangalore