What is a Sinus Infection?
A sinus infection is a common condition which affects many people each year. Arming yourself with knowledge can help you identify and deal with these unfortunate infections, allowing you to get back on your feet as soon as possible.
A sinus infection, known medically as sinusitis, occurs when the soft tissues inside of your sinus, or the cavities inside your face, become inflamed. Sinusitis can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Chronic sinusitis is classified as a sinus infection lasting longer than 12 weeks. Acute sinusitis often occurs due to outside influences like allergies or environmental pollutants.
Risk Factors for Sinus Infections
Some people are more at-risk for sinus infections than others. They include those with asthma, seasonal allergies, a nasal abnormality, like deviated septum, immune system disorder, or regular exposure to pollutants which cause sinusitis.
Causes of Sinus Infections
Sinusitis can occur due to several things, including:
- Allergies: Allergies, like hay fever or pet dander allergies, can inflame the sinuses to cause a blockage.
- Nasal Polyps: Tissue growths called nasal polyps can grow within the sinus and block the airway to cause sinusitis.
- Deviated Septum: The septum, or wall of cartilage between your nostrils, can sometimes become crooked, or deviated. This can cause a blockage or restriction of your airway.
- Underlying Conditions: Diseases, like HIV or cystic fibrosis, can cause a blockage of the nasal cavity.
- Respiratory Infections: Conditions, like the common cold, cause your sinuses to become inflamed, which, in turn, thickens the membranes, causing sinusitis.
Signs and Symptoms of Sinus Infections
The symptoms of sinusitis include:
- pain and tenderness around the eyes
- nasal congestion or obstruction
- difficulty breathing through the nose
- thick, colored discharge from the nose
- ear pain
- sore throat
If you feel as though you have sinusitis, you should make an appointment with your doctor at Wake Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists.
How Can Sinus Infections be Treated?
Treatment for sinus infections varies with the cause of the infection. Nasal irrigation using saline sprays and nasal corticosteroids can help reduce the symptoms of sinusitis. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics, immunotherapy, or even surgery for more severe cases.
For more information on Sinus Infections in the Cary, NC area call Wake Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists at 919-851-5636!