That feeling: runny nose, headache, sinus congestion. Is it just a cold? Or something more serious? If it’s a sinus infection, that’s a much more serious condition. In 2011 and 2012, an estimated 1.9 million Australians had chronic rhinosinusitis.1 If someone continues to battle sinus pain, headaches, and emotional drain for 12 weeks or more no matter what treatments they try, they may be dealing with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).2,3
The sinuses are bony, air-filled cavities inside the face and skull. A sinus infection, also called rhinosinusitis, is an inflammation of the soft tissues that line the sinuses. This inflammation or swelling can stop the sinuses from draining properly. The buildup can then lead to infection, which causes even more inflammation and pain.
There are four types of sinuses — frontal, ethmoid, sphenoid, and maxillary — and sinusitis can affect any of them.
Sinus congestion, discharge, and pressure with facial pain or headaches could mean a cold. But if the discharge from the nose is yellow or discoloured, it may be a sinus infection.
Chronic sinus infections can reduce a person's quality of life and make them constantly tired. If they have asthma, sinus infections may make it worse.
There are two kinds of sinusitis. A short-term or acute sinus infection can occur after a cold, an allergy attack, or from pollutants in the environment. A long-term or chronic sinus infection is one that lasts longer than 12 weeks.
|Sinusitis Symptom Duration||Sinusitis Type|
|Up to 4 weeks||Acute|
|Longer than 4 weeks, less than 12 weeks||Subacute|
|12 weeks or longer||Chronic|
|Occurs 4+ times per year, but goes away between episodes||Recurrent acute sinusitis|
Doctors classify the causes of sinusitis this way:
The underlying cause behind sinusitis may have implications for how a person responds to treatment and which treatment options the doctor recommends.
These factors can increase the risk of a sinus infection:
To diagnose a sinus infection, the doctor will ask about symptoms and medical history. They may tap areas of the face to find out if any sinus openings are tender. The doctor may also take a sample of the nasal discharge to determine what kind of infection it might be.
The doctor may order a CT scan that creates images of the inside of the sinuses. This can help the doctor more accurately diagnose the condition and select the best treatment option.4EXPLORE TREATMENT OPTIONS
https://www.racgp.org.au › afp › june › sinusitis
Rosenfeld RM, Andes D, Bhattacharyva N, et al. Clinical practice guidelines: Adult sinusitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg.2007;137:S1-S31.
Data on File. Medtronic, Inc.
American Rhinologic Society. Sinusitis Q&A. http://care.american-rhinologic.org/sinusitis_q_a? Accessed October 16, 2015.