Sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal sinuses that generates symptoms such as headache, runny nose and heaviness in the face, especially in the forehead and cheekbones, because these are where the sinuses are located.Sinusitis is usually caused by the influenzavirus and is therefore very common during flu attacks but can also arise due to the development of bacteria in the nasal secretions.
Sinusitis is curable and its treatment should be directed by a general practitioner or otorhinolaryngologist, usually including the use of nasal sprays, analgesics, oral corticosteroids or antibiotics, for example.
How to identify symptoms
The main symptoms of sinusitis are the appearance of thick and yellowish nasal discharge, accompanied by a feeling of heaviness or pressure on the face. However, other symptoms may also appear:
- Headache, which can spread to the eyes and nose;
- Sore throat;
- Difficulty breathing through the nose;
- Loss of smell and taste;
- Bad breath;
- Cough that gets worse at night.
In addition, fever above 38 ° C and dizziness may also occur, especially in cases of bacterial sinusitis, and in these cases it is also common for nasal secretions to turn from yellow to greenish in color.
Symptoms of sinusitis can be difficult to distinguish from allergy symptoms and, therefore, when allergy lasts longer than 7 days should be evaluated by a general practitioner or otolaryngologist to initiate appropriate treatment.
What are the main types of sinusitis?
Sinusitis can be divided into several types, depending on the sinuses affected, the duration of symptoms and the type of cause. Thus, when sinusitis only affects the nasal sinuses on one side of the face, it is known as unilateral sinusitis, while when it affects both sinuses it is known as bilateral sinusitis.
When speaking about the duration of symptoms, sinusitis is known as acute sinusitis when it lasts less than 4 weeks, mainly caused by viruses, and chronic sinusitis when lasting more than 4 weeks, being produced by bacteria.
What causes sinusitis
When assessing sinusitis for its causes, it can be known as viral sinusitis if caused by a virus, bacterial sinusitis if caused by bacteria, or allergic sinusitis if caused by an allergy.
Allergic sinus cases are often the most difficult to treat because it is often difficult to identify what is causing the allergy. In these cases, it is common for the person to have chronic sinusitis, which happens when symptoms last for more than 3 months. Understand better.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis of sinusitis should be made by an otolaryngologist and usually only with observation of the symptoms and palpation of the sinuses to assess if there is sensitivity in this region. However, the doctor may also order other more specific exams such as:
- Nasal endoscopy:a small tube is introduced through the nose to observe the inside of the sinuses, and can identify if there are other causes, such as nasal polyps that may be causing sinusitis;
- Computed tomography:evaluate the presence of a deep inflammation that may not be identified with nasal endoscopy and also allow to observe the anatomy of the nasal sinuses;
- Collection of nasal secretions:The doctor collects a small sample of nasal secretions to send to the laboratory and evaluate the presence of microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses;
- Allergytesting : Allergy testing serves to identify an allergic cause when the doctor cannot find viruses or bacteria in the secretion collection exam, for example. See how an allergy exam is done .
Although widely used, the X-ray examination is no longer often requested by doctors, because the computed tomography has greater accuracy to confirm the diagnosis.
What remedies to treat sinusitis
Treatment for sinusitis is usually done with medicines such as:
- Nasal sprays: help relieve the feeling of a stuffy nose;
- Anti-flu remedies: help relieve the feeling of pressure on the face and headache, for example;
- Oral antibiotics: They are used only in cases of bacterial sinusitis to eliminate bacteria.
To complement the treatment, there are some home remedies for sinusitis such as nasal saline flushing or saline, or steam inhalations to help reduce symptoms.