When your nose starts dripping and your head is aching, you know your nose is in cahoots with your sinuses to cause misery. Why do sinus trouble and nose problems go hand in hand? The answer is that the sinuses are simply extensions of the nasal cavities. The channels that run between the two parts are prime spots for congestion from swelling or mucus buildup. Obstructions also can be caused by tissue inflamed by infection or irritation, tumors, cysts, polyps, a deviated septum, enlarged tonsils, or even a foreign body. Small hairlike cilia in your nose normally clear mucus secretions but they can be overwhelmed by infection, blockage, or exposure to such things as cigarette smoke.
Acute versus Chronic
The microorganisms that cause acute sinusitis are different from those that are responsible for chronic sinusitis. Acute sinusitis often follows an upper respiratory infection detoxic kaina. Influenza, strep throat, and other respiratory diseases may precipitate acute sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis is an infection that persists longer than three months. Both aerobic and anaerobic organisms cause chronic sinusitis. Aerobic organisms require oxygen to live, whereas anaerobic organisms are able to grow and function without oxygen. In nearly 50 percent of chronic sinusitis cases, there is a decrease in pH and oxygen in the mucous membranes, thus providing a breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria. Mixed aerobic-anaerobic infections are common in chronic sinusitis detoxic iskustva.
Whenever postnasal drip or thick colored nasal drainage coexist with a day-and-night cough, a sinus infection may be the culprit. Headache, facial pain, and fever are more common in acute sinusitis but may be found in some chronic cases as well. Frequently, you will notice a metallic or salty taste to the postnasal drip when you have an infection. Consult your physician for a diagnosis and medication.
Your physician will take a careful medical history and may need to view posterior cavities using flexible fiber-optic devices. In recurrent cases, imaging studies such as CT scans, x-rays (although they lack the sensitivity of CT scans), or an ultrasound (also called an echograph) may be ordered. When possible, your physician might also order a culture of your sinus drainage, although this can be difficult to obtain, especially in children.
Once your physician determines whether you have an acute or chronic condition, he or she will prescribe an appropriate combination of antibiotics and decongestants. Oral or topical corticosteroids can also be effective in reducing inflammation, but they can have undesirable side effects. Guaifenesin or iodide may be prescribed to help loosen the mucus. Applying moist heat to your face with wet towels or steam inhalation also can help.
With the proper care, the misery caused by plugged nose and sinuses will clear up and leave you breathing easy again.