Sinusitis and facial pain
Finding a solution
Sinusitis is a common condition in which the lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed. It's usually caused by a viral infection and often improves within two or three weeks. The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead. The mucus produced by your sinuses usually drains into your nose through small channels. In sinusitis, these channels become blocked because the sinus linings are inflamed (swollen).
Signs and symptoms
Sinusitis usually occurs after an upper respiratory tract infection, such as a cold. If you have a persistent cold and develop the symptoms below, you may have sinusitis. Symptoms of sinusitis include:
When to see your GP
If your symptoms are mild and getting better, you don't usually need to see your GP and can look after yourself at home.
See your GP if:
How sinusitis is treated
Most people with sinusitis will feel better within two or three weeks and can look after themselves at home. You can help relieve your symptoms by: taking over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen using nasal decongestants - these shouldn't be used for more than a week, as this might make things worse holding warm packs to your face regularly cleaning the inside of your nose with a saline solution - you can make this at home yourself or use sachets of ingredients bought from a pharmacy If your symptoms aren't improving or are getting worse, your GP may prescribe antibiotics or corticosteroid spray or drops to see if they help.
If your symptoms don't get better after trying these treatments, you may be referred to an ENT specialist for surgery to improve the drainage of your sinuses.
What causes sinusitis?
Sinusitis is usually the result of a cold or flu virus spreading to the sinuses from the upper airways. Only a few cases are caused by bacteria infecting the sinuses. An infected tooth or fungal infection can also occasionally cause the sinuses to become inflamed.
It's not clear exactly what causes sinusitis to become chronic (long-lasting), but it has been associated with: allergies and related conditions, including allergic rhinitis, asthma and hay fever nasal polyps (growths inside the nose) smoking a weakened immune system Making sure underlying conditions such as allergies and asthma are well controlled may improve the symptoms of chronic sinusitis.
Getting to a sinusitis solution is a process
The secret to a good outcome is meticulous assessment through the following:
There is a range of treatments
Treatments include sorting out any allergic rhinitis or other causes of nasal block which are very often overlooked. The range of sinusitis treatments include:
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