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What is it?
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the membrane lining of the sinuses i.e. the air-filled cavities in the bones surrounding the nose and eyes.
Symptoms: Nasal discharge and congestion, Headache over one or both eyes if the frontal sinuses are affected, pain in one or both cheeks if the sinuses in the cheek bones are affected. Pain is worse when leaning forward.
Causes: Bacterial, viral or rarely fungal infection, Often follows a cold, Allergic rhinitis, dental infection and exposure to temperature extremes.
Possible complications: Pain, nasal blockage, secondary respiratory tract infections, rarely meningitis or brain abscess.
Treatment in the home: Mild sinusitis symptoms often clear on their own accord. Avoid dry overheated rooms. These conditions aggravate the symptoms. Take analgesics in recommended doses to relieve pain. Nasal decongestants may ease the discomfort. Then dry up the nasal secretions and reduce swelling of the nasal passages. Do not use nasal decongestants for longer than 10 days without consulting a doctor. Avoid temperature extremes, while the condition lasts, avoid as far as possible exposure of the face to direct sunlight.
When to consult a doctor: To avoid complications it is important that you consult a doctor if symptoms are acute or persist.
What the doctor may do: Clinically examine your mouth, throat, nose, ears and sinuses. Arrange for X-rays of the sinuses to confirm the diagnosis. Prescribe a course of antibiotics and nasal spray or drops if sinusitis is diagnosed. Recommend dental treatment if the infection has spread from the teeth. If the infection does not clear up despite treatment, refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist as surgical drainage of the affected sinuses may be required.