Sinusitis is a relatively common condition characterized by the sinus lining becoming inflamed.
The sinuses are comprised of four hollow air spaces and are found behind the jaw, cheeks and eyebrows. When this condition is acute, it may last for as long as four weeks, but can last four to 12 weeks for chronic cases.
There are a variety of ways that an ear, nose, and throat doctor may treat sinusitis.
These sprays help to clear congestion by cleaning out the nasal passages. To alleviate the swelling that may occur with sinusitis, doctors might recommend using a decongestant nasal spray. In most cases, it is suggested that patients not use these sprays for longer than three days. Prolonged usage may result in sinus swelling coming back and worsening once the patient stops using the spray.
These medicines are used to alleviate pressure and pain in the sinuses and are only meant for short-term use unless otherwise directed by a doctor. There are over-the-counter options and prescription variations, depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms. In some cases, doctors might also suggest an over-the-counter pain reliever to further reduce any discomfort the patient might be experiencing.
This involves using a saline solution to loosen thick mucus and flush out the sinuses. It is important to never use regular tap water for this since it is not properly treated or filtered. Tap water poses the risk of containing microorganisms that may result in serious nasal passage infections. The saline solution should be at room temperature.
The doctor can suggest the best tool to use for nasal irrigation, and it is a good idea to have the doctor demonstrate first to ensure the irrigation is properly done.
In some cases, allergies are the underlying cause of sinusitis. When this happens, taking allergy medications may help with the patient’s current symptoms and help to reduce the risk of recurrent sinusitis associated with allergies. The exact medication depends on what the patient’s allergies are and their medical history. If an allergy medicine is recommended over the long-term, it may differ from the one the doctor suggests while the patient has active sinusitis. These medications should be taken exactly as prescribed.
In cases where bacteria is suspected to be present, antibiotics might be prescribed. On average, these are taken for approximately 10 to 14 days. It is imperative that patients take the full course. If symptoms are especially severe, steroid medications may be prescribed along with antibiotics. These should also be taken for the full course.
Those who suspect sinusitis should contact their doctor. A number of factors might contribute to this condition, such as allergies, the common cold, and air pressure or temperature changes. Knowing the underlying cause and finding an effective treatment regimen can help patients to feel better sooner.