Sinusitis: Common Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
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Sinusitis: Common Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Ten million people or more experienced sinusitis. It is important to identify sinusitis and its common symptoms, causes, and types in order to provide appropriate treatment. Different types of sinusitis require specific approach. Recommended dosage of medication must follow at all times to attain desired results. It is also vital to complete the treatment to avoid recurrent sinusitis.

Ten million people or more experienced sinusitis. This condition refers to the inflammation of the sinuses, the air-filled cavities developed in the facial and cranial bones of the skull. The illustration was given below to identify the location of the four groups of sinuses: 1. Frontal (in frontal bone/forehead), 2. Ethmoid (between the eyes), 3. Sphenoid (in the sphenoid bone/behind the eyes), and 4. Maxillary (in the upper jaw/behind the cheek bones).

Location of Sinuses (Illustration by Micha? Komorniczak, Poland)

Anyone suffering from this condition can be seen with different symptoms such as pain, headache and nasal congestion. If someone walks in the clinic and claims to have those symptoms, he/she could possibly have sinusitis but for more advance checking, x-rays can be requested by the doctor. Aside from treating the major symptoms of sinusitis, antibiotics are given to treat the infection caused by virus or bacteria. Sinuses have their own defenses to fight back any foreign bodies. These foreign bodies such as bacteria, virus and allergens adhere to the mucosal lining of sinuses and bring confusion to the defenses causing the infection. Sinusitis can be acute and chronic which is best described by the length of exposure to the condition. Usually, the acute sinusitis affects the person 8 weeks or less. If the sinusitis lasts for 3 months or even more than that, then it is chronic.

Symptoms of Sinusitis:

Common symptoms may be experienced by the person with sinusitis whether acute or chronic except that chronic sinusitis appears to have more severe symptoms than acute sinusitis. These include the following:

  •  Nasal congestion and obstruction with mucus(green or yellow color) and may cause productive cough (especially at night)
  • Pain, swelling, and tenderness in the face
  • Headache
  • Fever

Aside from these common symptoms, bad breath or halitosis, tiredness, and reduced sense of smell or hyposmia may also be observed.

Treatment of Sinusitis:

Treatment of sinusitis will depend on its type. Types of sinusitis are based on the duration of the condition. Causes of sinusitis are also taken into consideration in order to provide appropriate treatment. Take note that sinusitis can be infectious or non-infectious. Bacterial growth mostly causes the infectious sinusitis. In some occasion, fungi cause the infection. On the other hand, irritants and allergic conditions are the causes of non-infectious sinusitis.

  • Acute Sinusitis lasts for 30 days or less which is characterized by the sudden start of the symptoms. For this simple type of sinus infection, decongestants and inhalation of warm moist air are recommended. Decongestants are available in oral, spray and strips. The most commonly used decongestants are pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. Pseudoephedrine acts by producing vasoconstriction of the respiratory mucosa, loosening of bronchioles, and enhanced heart rate and contractility. Pseudoephedrine needs prescription before dispensing but there are non-prescription decongestant nasal drops or sprays that can also be used to control acute sinusitis. It more likely to react with these medication and antibiotic is no longer needed.
  • Subacute Sinusitis lasts for 30 or not longer than 3 months. In this type of sinusitis, inhalation of warm moist air through vaporizer or steam of boiling water can help to reduce the symptoms. Few drops of saline solution into the nose can relieve congestion and a lot safer to use at home. Recommended dosage of pseudoephedrine and other non-prescription decongestants may also be used. In some instances, antibiotic and oral steroids are prescribed to treat subacute sinusitis.
  • Chronic Sinusitis lasts for 2 months or longer. This can be the result of incomplete treatment of acute sinusitis or subacute sinusitis. This type requires longer courses of medication and may require professional sinus drainage procedure. 

As mention above, infectious sinusitis can be caused by bacteria or fungi. The most common bacteria that caused the sinus infections are the following:

  1. Haemophilus influenzae
  2. Staphylococcus aureus
  3. Streptococcus pneumoniae
  4. Streptococcus pyogenes
  5. Moraxella catarrhalis

The antibiotics to be used must be effective to target the cause. Some doctors prescribed amoxicillin to treat these bacterial infections. But most doctors prefer to prescribe amoxicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin) because it is proven to be effective against most strains of bacteria. If the infected person is allergic to penicillin, other kinds of antibiotics such as trimethoprim, azithromycin, clarithromycin  or sulfamethoxazole can be given. Antibacterial should usually be only for repeated symptoms and strong discharge lasting at least 7 days or is severe symptoms. Treated with antibiotics should be 7 days to 14 days. 


Comprehensive Pharmacy Review by Shargel, Mutnick, Sourney ans Swanson

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Comments (1)

Sinusitis is one of the common ailments here in PH, thank you for this well informative feature.