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Sinusitis

Sinusitis: Introduction

Sinusitis, also called a sinus infection, is an infection of the air-filled spaces that are located within the bones in and around the nose. These spaces are called paranasal sinuses, and when they get infected, they become inflamed. This results in swelling of the mucus membranes that line the sinuses and cause pain and pressure in and around the eyes and cheekbones.

Sinusitis is a common condition that results from a viral infection, bacterial infection, or rarely, a fungal infection. Certain conditions, behaviours or injuries make it more likely that sinusitis will develop. These include smoking, hay fever, allergic rhinitis, trauma to the nose, tooth abscess and exposing the deep areas of the nose to bacteria, viruses or fungus through such activities as picking the nose.

An infection occurs when the body's immune system is unable to stop harmful bacteria, viruses or fungi that have been introduced into the sinuses from reproducing. This results in the inflammation of the sinuses and symptoms, such as facial pain and pressure and thick greenish mucus that is discharged from the nose. Severe complications that affect the brain may also occur. For more details on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of sinusitis.

Making a diagnosis of sinusitis begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and a physical examination that focuses on the nose and sinuses. Findings include swelling and inflammation of the sinuses and thick greenish nasal mucus. Diagnostic testing may include imaging tests, such as an X-ray or CT, which can confirm a diagnosis and reveal the severity of the condition. Imaging tests may also help to uncover underlying conditions, such as a tooth abscess.

It is possible that a diagnosis of sinusitis can be missed or delayed because the symptoms can be mild or assumed to be associated with other conditions, such as migraine headache or upper respiratory infection. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of sinusitis.

Treatment for sinusitis varies depending on the cause, severity of symptoms, the presence of complications, a person's medical history. Prompt treatment is important to prevent the development of serious complications, such as meningitis and brain abscess. Treatment may include using a humidifier, medications or possibly surgery. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of sinusitis. ...more »

Sinusitis: Sinusitis is any infection or inflammation of the sinus cavities behind the nose and eyes. It is very common with an estimated 37 million cases annually in the USA. Symptoms vary according to which sinus cavity is infected; some are similar to cold or flu but other infections are not. Some sinus infections may also occur as a complication of a cold or flu. There may be various other underlying conditions causing sinusitis such as allergies, hay fever, or asthma. ...more »

Sinusitis: Animations

Sinusitis: Broader Related Topics

 

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