Sinusitis – When to Consult an ENT?

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Pliro
Written by Pliro
Apr 8, 2019 Last updated: Apr 9, 2019
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The nose is connected to air filled cavities found in the skull and facial bones known as Paranasal Sinuses. These sinuses help in speech formation, providing warmth to the inhaled air and humidify it. There are 4 pairs of these Sinuses in the human body, all centered at the nose. Maxillary sinus, Ethmoid Sinus, Sphenoid Sinus and Frontal Sinus.

What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is inflammation of the lining of the sinuses.  Normally the sinuses are filled with air but in sinusitis, the sinuses are blocked and filled with fluid making it prone to infection and inflammation. Sinusitis is a very common condition especially in people prone to allergies, living in coastal areas with humid air. Yet it can lead to a lot of fatal complications making it a must for the patient to get a proper follow-up from the ENT specialist. Let’s discuss some important factors regarding sinusitis and what makes it important to visit an ENT.

What are the common causes of Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is occurs mostly after common cold or viral infection. It is also caused by allergic rhinitis, some nasal outgrowths like nasal polyps and deviated nasal septum. In children common causes include bottle feeding with improper positioning, pacifiers and allergies.

What are the signs and symptoms of Sinusitis?

Sinusitis has two main types:
Acute Sinusitis- Recovers within 2-4weeks
Chronic Sinusitis- symptoms prevail for more than 12weeks.

Following are the commonly found symptoms in sinusitis;
1. Stuffed, congested nose.
2. Facial pain, specifically in the region of affected sinus (e.g. cheeks in case of maxillary sinus) .
3. Severe headache especially early in the morning,
4. Runny nose and post nasal drip.
5. Bad breath and cough.
6. Fever and fatigue.
7. Loss of smell and tooth ache.

Why is it important to see an ENT Specialist?

Sinusitis if not treated promptly can lead to serious complications. One of the most serious complications is spreading of the infection to the skull bones and brain leading to meningitis. This is more common in case of bacterial sinusitis. Other than this, Sinusitis can spread to the orbit and cause cellulitis leading to visual impairment.  It may also cause complete loss of sense of smell and formation of benign cystic growths like mucocele in the paranasal sinuses.

When is it mandatory to see an ENT Specialist?

In the following cases, a visit to an ENT Specialist become mandatory to avoid aforementioned complications;
1. When the symptoms does not subside for more than a week.
2. When the symptoms start to aggravate or worsen with time.
3. Recurrent episodes of acute sinusitis or in case of prevailing chronic sinusitis.
4. Symptoms prevail even after you are done with the prescribed antibiotics course.
5. Severe headache not subsided by over the counter medicines.

How is Sinusitis treated?

Over the counter pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs help in doing away with the pain; Paracetomol and ibuprofen being the choice of drug in this regard. Nasal decongestants may also help to release the blocked nose but must not be used for more than a week. Steam inhalation of normal saline also helps in it. If the symptoms do not subside with these and there is ongoing fever, then appropriate antibiotics must be used to remove the infection.

In the following cases, a visit to an ENT Specialist become mandatory to avoid aforementioned complications;
1. When the symptoms does not subside for more than a week.
2. When the symptoms start to aggravate or worsen with time.
3. Recurrent episodes of acute sinusitis or in case of prevailing chronic sinusitis.
4. Symptoms prevail even after you are done with the prescribed antibiotics course.
5. Severe headache not subsided by over the counter medicines.

How is Sinusitis treated?

Over the counter pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs help in doing away with the pain; Paracetomol and ibuprofen being the choice of drug in this regard. Nasal decongestants may also help to release the blocked nose but must not be used for more than a week. Steam inhalation of normal saline also helps in it. If the symptoms do not subside with these and there is ongoing fever, then appropriate antibiotics must be used to remove the infection.




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