Your body aches, your nose is stuffy and you just don’t feel like yourself. Headaches, dizziness, and thick mucous convince you that you are coming down with yet another cold. Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, refers to infection and inflammation in your sinuses, which are the hollow air spaces within the bone structure surrounding your nose. However, if you continue thinking it’s another common cold, you might fail to take a few steps that will allow you to address the real culprit and start breathing free again.
What is Sinusitis? Aside from the obvious definition above, sinusitis is an inflammation that can be characterized as acute (lasting up to 4 weeks), sub-acute (lasting 4-12 weeks), chronic (lasting 12 weeks or more and continuing for months or years), or recurrent (several attacks per year). In 2009, approximately 31 million adults were diagnosed with this common infection and more cases were found in the U.S. Interestingly, southern states were affected more than anywhere else.
How do I Know? The most common tell-tale symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Pain in the forehead, upper jaw or teeth, cheeks, between the eyes or even in your neck
- Mucous discharge that can be white, yellow, green or even blood tinged
- A feeling of fullness in your face
- Decreased sense of smell or taste
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
Relief from Sinusitis. There are several courses of action that your doctor may take to bring you relief from your sinus infection. Due to the fact that viruses cause most sinus infections, your doctor will typically hold off on antibiotics in acute cases, unless she suspects it is bacterial. Pain relievers and decongestants can help shrink the inflammation and allow you to breathe easy. Sometimes nasal or oral steroids will be prescribed to help shrink the swollen membranes in chronic cases. Homeopathic methods such as a simple saline rise spray can be very effective in treating chronic sinusitis. If using a nasal wash, make sure to use sterilized or distilled water to prevent further complications.
Sinus Surgery. When other treatment options do not relieve chronic cases, surgery may be an option. Relief can be achieved using three sinus surgery methods:
- Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
- Balloon Sinuplasty
- Image-guided Surgery
Surgery may include enlarging the sinus cavities, removing nasal polyps and correcting structural problems. Surgeries performed at Brandon Regional are relatively non-invasive, completed in 1-2 hours and performed on an out-patient basis. Are you interested in learning more? Do you have a health question or do you need a physician referral to get started on a treatment plan? Contact our Consult-A-Nurse service at 1-888-327-2636.