Sinusitis is an infection within the paranasal sinuses, which are spaces in the bones of the face and the skull located around the nose, under the cheekbones, and near the eyes.
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What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is one of the most common health problems. It affects more than 35 million Americans each year, often because they catch a cold or have allergies.
Openings in the nose connect to pairs of sinuses in the bones of the face and skull. The sinuses are air-filled spaces with linings that produce mucus. This mucus normally drains into the nose. The linings of the sinuses become infected in sinusitis, which causes them to swell. The swelling prevents the normal drainage of fluid from the sinus areas. This blockage causes a pressure buildup and pain. The areas under the cheekbones, and around the eyes, or near the involved sinuses hurt and become tender to the touch.
Sinusitis can come and go in a week or so, like a cold. It also can be chronic, which means it lasts many weeks or months.
What Causes Sinusitis?
Bacteria and viruses usually cause the infection in sinusitis. It most commonly occurs during a cold. Allergies to dust, grass, and other substances can also cause sinusitis. Even swimming underwater and flying in an airplane can contribute to sinusitis.
What Are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?
The first sign usually is a stuffy nose. The mucus that comes out is thick and appears yellow and green. Sometimes, the mucus contains small amounts of blood.
The clogged sinuses and swelling cause pain around the nose and eyes. The pain feels worse when the person bends forward. Headaches are common, and it even can feel as if there is a toothache, because sinus pressure can push on nerves under the teeth. A fever may also be present as well as a cough.
How Is Sinusitis Treated?
If the sinusitis is part of a cold or flu, the symptoms usually go away on their own. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics if the sinusitis is thought to
If the symptoms last more than a month, the sinusitis is chronic and may be triggered by allergies to such things as dust, trees, and animal dander. Doctors advise people with chronic sinusitis to try to avoid the things that cause their allergies. Special filters are available for air-conditioning and heating systems. Allergy medicines may help to prevent further attacks of sinusitis.
Surgery is available for people with chronic sinusitis. A nasal passage is opened with a small cutting tool, which helps to open the sinus, allowing it to drain better.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Inc.
This organization's website includes information on sinusitis,
including an interactive test to see whether you just have a cold or