A sinusitis infection may start off with common cold symptoms such as runny nose, cough, and congestion. But when it is not handled right away, it can lead to much more severe problems.
Sinusitis is generally caused by a cold or an allergy. When a cold or allergy takes place, swelling of the sinus cavity lining occurs. When bacteria enter the sinus cavities, they attack the swollen lining which then causes greater inflammation. The cilia usually flushes out the bacteria and mucus. When this amount of inflammation occurs, the cilia can no longer function as it should and so the bacteria and mucus end up becoming trapped in the cavities and as a result the sinusitis infection begins.
The problems which may occur with acute sinusitis may include cough, congestion, facial pain and pressure, headache, green nasal discharge, and postnasal drip. When the sinusitis infection lasts for twelve or more weeks it is known as chronic sinusitis and can have added problems such as loss of sense of taste and smell and fatigue may also be experienced. Other symptoms may also occur depending on which sinus cavity that the infection lies in.
There are numerous medications and treatments meant to help relive the problems that the sinusitis brings to the sufferer. One of the most common treatments is oral medications such as antibiotics, decongestants, and anti-fungals. Oral medications work on infections and other problems by traveling through the blood stream to the infected area. In the sinus cavities there are very few blood vessels. Since the oral medications use the blood stream to flow to the area where they are needed, only a small amount of the medication can be delivered to the sinusitis infection which may lead to little or no relief from the treatment. Also since these medications use the blood stream, it then is distributed through out the rest of the body also which can lead to many side effects such as stomach pain, drowsiness, amongst many others depending on which type of medication is being used.
There are also many treatments which are directly distributed into the sinus cavities. These treatments are generally meant to help moisten the cilia so that it can flush out the trapped mucus and bacteria. Nasal sprays are commonly used and can be prescribed or purchased over the counter. The nasal sprays may offer some relief to the lower part of the sinuses but often times may not help the infection since their particle sizes are too large to make it past the inflammation at the opening of the sinus cavities and up to the sinusitis infection. The same holds true for a treatment called irrigation which distributes saline up to the sinus cavities. Irrigation is also very messy and generally unsuccessful in offering relief.
A newer treatment that is used nasally is aerosolized medications. Aerosolized medications are used very much like nebulized asthma medications. These antibiotics, anti-fungals, and anti-inflammatories are broken down into a small particle size so that it can pass the inflammation and make its way up to the sinusitis infection. Generally a small amount of these medications are used which results in little to no side effects in the rest of the body.
There are many different treatments which are meant to clear up the sinusitis and the problems which occur with it. It is important to find the treatment that works best for you and to treat the sinusitis before it worsens and surgery is then left as the only option.