Feeling stuffy with uncomfortable pressure on your cheekbones? It could mean you have acute sinusitis. Also known as rhinosinusitis, this short-term sinus infection can cause inflammation or swelling of the membranes that line your sinuses preventing mucus from draining from your nose.
Causes of Acute Sinusitis
In a normal (healthy) scenario, our sinuses are usually filled with air. However, when infection hits, these healthy sinuses become clogged and accumulate fluids, germs from bacteria, fungi and even viruses. Individuals with the following illnesses and conditions are more prone to developing sinusitis
- Colds and runny noses
- upper respiratory infections
- fungal sinus infections
- allergies that cause mucus production in the sinuses
- lack of cilia motility, caused by disease
- nasal polyps or tumors
- deviated nasal septum
- enlarged or infected adenoids
- infected tooth (in rare cases, bacteria can spread from the infected tooth to the sinuses)
- cystic fibrosis (a disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the body)
- immune deficiencies
- nasal structural differences causing narrowing of nasal drainage ducts
Types of Sinusitis
Sinusitis is divided into four categories including acute sinusitis (typically lasting 3 weeks), sub-acute sinusitis (usually lasts for 4 to 8 weeks), chronic sinusitis (can last for 8 weeks or longer and is also characterized by extreme sinus infection), and recurrent sinusitis (these tend to recur over time).
Signs and symptoms
Some of the signs and symptoms associated with acute sinusitis include:
- Pain, tenderness and inflammation Swelling is most commonly associated with this condition. Infections of the sinus cause inflammation and a dull constant pain is usually felt on the affected sinuses.
- Discharge A thick, greenish-yellow discharge can come from the nose or go down the back of the throat.
- Congestion Inflamed sinus can cause nasal obstruction causing difficulty breathing through your nose.
- Persistent cough The couch may be worse at night and usually irritates the throat causing a sore throat.
- Headache Swelling and sinus pressure can lead to headaches, aching in your upper jaw and teeth, and fatigue.
- Other symptoms include: ear pain, fever, bad breath, reduced sense of smell and taste
At-Home Symptom Relief
Help relieve some of the symptoms with a little at-home TLC, starting with getting enough of rest to fight infection and speed up the recovery process (you might even try elevating your head as well). Drinking plenty of fluids (avoid caffeine or alcohol) will help to dilute mucous secretions and promote drainage. Next time you’re feeling stuffy, also try taking a hot, steamy shower and breathe in the warm, moist air or apply a warm compress around your nose, cheeks and eyes (this should help to ease pain and help drain mucus).
The good news: sinus infections are not contagious. Treatment for acute sinusitis varies depending on whether the source of the infection is viral or bacterial and may include analgesics (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories), saline irrigation, corticosteroids, decongestants or antihistamines. Antibiotics can be prescribed to treat sinusitis caused by bacterial infections, if the infection is severe, recurrent or persistent. Visit eMedical Urgent Care at the first sign that sinusitis is detected; as this goes a long way in preventing an individual from developing chronic or recurrent sinusitis. Treatment for sinus infections are available at eMedical Urgent Care. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your busy schedule. Learn more about our services and how we can treat you and your family by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.