Get to Know the Causes and Symptoms of Sinusitis
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining of the sinuses, which is generally characterized by a runny nose, a stuffy nose, and pain in the face area. This condition can last for weeks, months, or even years.
The sinuses are small cavities connected to each other by means of air passages within the skull. This small cavity is located at the back of the forehead bone (frontal), the inside of the cheekbone structure (maxillary), both sides of the bridge of the nose (ethmoidal), and behind the eyes (sphenoidalis).
The sinuses produce mucus, which functions to stop allergens, germs, and other substances that can cause infection and harm one's health. Mucus and substances caught by mucus will be pushed down the throat, through the stomach, and out of the body by cilia, which are very small like hairs. The sinuses also function to help control the temperature and humidity of the air that is inhaled.
There are several types of sinusitis, which are divided based on the duration of the disease, namely:
- Acute Sinusitis
Acute sinusitis occurs suddenly, but doesn't last long either. In fact, sinus inflammation typically resolves on its own or can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as antibiotics and lasts 2-4 weeks.
- Subacute Sinusitis
Subacute sinusitis lasts 4–12 weeks. There are several causes that can make a person experience subacute sinusitis, such as a bacterial infection or exposure to allergies.
- Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis usually lasts more than 12 weeks, or the patient has had this disease many times. And this condition is usually caused by infection, nasal polyps, or bone abnormalities in the nasal cavity.
Causes of Sinusitis
Sinusitis occurs due to inflammation and swelling in the lining of the sinuses and nose. This condition is generally caused by a virus or allergy that triggers the sinuses to produce more mucus.
Too much mucus can accumulate and block the nasal passages. This condition causes bacteria or other germs to develop rapidly, causing infection.
Acute sinusitis is usually caused by a cold virus. Meanwhile, chronic sinusitis can be caused by several conditions, including:
- Allergies, such as allergic rhinitis, can block the sinus passages.
- Nasal polyps, which can block the sinus passages due to the growth of tissue or masses in the nose,
- Respiratory tract infections, both viral and bacterial, which can cause thickening of the sinus lining, obstructing nasal passages.
- Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that causes mucus to thicken, accumulate, and clog various channels in the body, especially the respiratory and digestive tracts.
- Other medical conditions, such as a weak immune system,
Sinusitis symptoms vary according to age and type of sinusitis. In chronic sinusitis, the symptoms are similar to those of acute chronic sinusitis but are milder and last longer.
The following are some of the symptoms of sinusitis in adults:
- A runny or stuffy nose that lasts more than 7–10 days
- Nasal mucus dripping down the throat (postnasal drip)
- Sore throat
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Pain in the face
- Snot that is greenish yellow
- Decreased function of the sense of smell
- Swelling around the eyes that worsens in the morning
Meanwhile, in children, symptoms of sinusitis include:
- A cold that lasts for more than 7–10 days
- Thick green or yellow mucus, but occasionally clear
- Swelling in the eye area
- Cough that worsens at night
- Nasal congestion necessitates frequent mouth breathing.
- Loss of appetite
Treatment and Prevention of Sinusitis
Treatment of sinusitis depends on the type but is generally accomplished by administering nasal sprays and oral medications. If the drugs are not effective, the doctor will suggest surgery.
Sinusitis can be prevented by reducing the risk of this condition occurring, namely by taking the following steps:
- Avoid upper respiratory tract infections. Minimize contact with people who have a cold.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating.
- Manage your allergies with a doctor.
- Avoid exposure to things that make you allergic whenever possible.
- Avoid cigarette smoke and air pollution. Tobacco smoke and airborne contaminants can irritate the lungs and nasal passages.
Immediately check with your doctor if you experience some of the symptoms described above, especially if the symptoms last more than 10 days and the fever lasts more than 3–4 days.