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Sinusitis: Nasal Passage Inflammation

Sinusitis: Nasal Passage Inflammation
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sinus infection

Sinusitis is more commonly known as a sinus infection. It refers to an inflammation of the air cavities within the nasal passages. Sinusitis ranges in severity from a mild sinus infection (lasting up to 4 weeks) or a severe infection (lasting over 12 weeks). Sinusitis is a very common condition that affects over 3 million people yearly in the U.S.

What Causes Sinusitis?

Sinusitis rarely occurs on its own. It is almost always the result of one of the following factors or conditions:

  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Allergies
  • Environmental factors
  • Nasal polyps
  • Nasal tumors
  • Deviated nasal septum
  • Weakened immune systems
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Asthma

Types of Sinusitis

Acute Sinusitis

This type of sinusitis lasts 2 to 4 weeks.

Subacute Sinus Inflammation

This type of sinusitis lasts 4 to 12 weeks.

Chronic Sinus Inflammation

This type of sinusitis lasts longer than 12 weeks.

Recurrent Sinusitis

This type of sinusitis refers to frequent bouts of acute sinusitis.

Sinusitis Symptoms

  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Facial pressure
  • Tenderness in the sinus area
  • Swelling in the sinus area
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Impaired/Decreased sense of smell

sinus infection causes

Diagnosing Sinusitis

Sinusitis can be diagnosed by a primary care physician based on a physical examination and assessment of medical history. Patients with chronic or recurrent sinusitis will likely be referred to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist) to check for certain underlying causes such as nasal tumors.

Treating Sinusitis

Acute cases of sinusitis can typically be treated with a course of antibiotics. Chronic or recurrent cases of sinusitis may require surgical intervention depending on the underlying cause.

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