Sinusitis

 
Sinusitis image

Rodney P. Lusk, M.D.
Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute

Headaches, stuffy nose and pressure around your eyes, nose and temples, it could be sinusitis.

Each person has four sets of sinuses located in cheeks, in the nose next to the eyes, in the forehead and in the back of the nose in the center of the head. If the lining and opening of the sinus cavity becomes inflamed and swollen, it does not allow the sinus to drain properly. This can happen with viral infections or allergies. Bacteria begin to grow if the opening is obstructed. The result can be pain and pressure from a sinus infection.

Acute sinusitis can occur at any time of the year. If it is from a viral infection it usually clears in approximately 7-10 days without antibiotics. Chronic sinusitis, on the other hand, frequently begins as a viral infection and changes to a bacterial infection. It does not clear up without a prescribed antibiotic and this is known as acute sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis is defined as having persistent sinusitis symptoms for three consecutive months.

Who’s At Risk

Younger children have a higher risk for developing sinusitis because of a weaker immune system. Children and adults with underlying health conditions, allergies, chronic nasal congestion, chronically infected adenoids, and possibly reflux issues may also be more prone to develop sinusitis.

Symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Headache and face pain
  • Colored discharge from nose
  • Pressure or pain over the sinuses or teeth
  • Daytime or night-time coughing

When to Seek Medical Care

If you or your child has sinusitis symptoms lasting longer than 7-9 days, or at any time develop a fever, swelling or flu like symptoms, contact your primary physician. Along with staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest, your physician may recommend over the counter medications or nasal irrigations to help alleviate symptoms and keep you comfortable at home. High fever or swelling around the eyes are more alarming signs and you should seek more urgent medical attention.