and Sinusitis - The Connection
and Sinusitis Hay fever and other allergic reactions can be contributing
factors to sinusitis. Allergies can trigger swelling in the sinus
and nasal mucous linings. The swelling can cause sinus passages
to close up, trapping bacteria in the upper respiratory tract.
Bacteria in the sinuses can develop into a sinus infection.
is an inflammation of the hollow cavities around the eyes and
nose known as the nasal sinuses. While allergic rhinitis (hay
fever) is an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose,
sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses. Symptoms of sinusitis
can vary depending on the level of inflammation and the area
and Sinusitis Symptoms
Frequent allergic reactions, resulting
in sinusitis, can cause sinusitis to become a chronic condition.
Chronic sinusitis sufferers have frequent and ongoing inflammation
of the sinus membranes. The National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases lists several symptoms that are associated
with sinusitis. Some symptoms include:
in the morning
when pressure is applied to the forehead over the frontal sinuses
in the upper jaw and teeth along with tender cheeks
of the eyelids and tissues around the eye
between the eyes
when pressure is put on the sides of the nose
of smell and nasal congestion or runny nose
neck pain, and deep aching at the top of the head
that can increase in severity at night
drip causing a sore throat
symptoms of sinusitis are similar to that of allergies or a
common cold, it is important to recognize the differences and
undergo the appropriate treatment.
to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI): “Nasal
allergies (allergic rhinitis or ‘hay fever’) cause
nasal itching and sneezing, runny nose, nasal stuffiness and postnasal
drainage. These symptoms are similar to those of sinusitis. Most
experts believe nasal and sinus swelling from allergies can contribute
to the development of sinusitis. However, other factors, such as
chronic infection, also contribute significantly to the development
of chronic sinusitis.
of the importance of allergies to nasal and sinus symptoms,
patients with chronic sinusitis should be evaluated for nasal
The AAAAI lists several types of physicians who are
involved in the treatment of sinusitis. The physicians include
allergists and immunologists, general practitioners, family
physicians, internists, pediatricians, and ear, nose, and throat
specialists. An AAAAI survey reported that allergists devote
20-30% of their time to treating sinusitis.
addition to allergens and viral or bacterial infection, sinusitis
can be triggered by exposure to noxious chemicals, smoke, and
air pollution. Due to the variety of sinusitis triggers, various
forms of treatment are available as preventative measures and
symptom management. Allergy medicines such as decongestants
and antihistamines can be taken at the start of an allergy
attack to prevent the development of sinusitis, but once sinusitis
develops further treatment is necessary.
with taking allergy medication to prevent sinusitis, other
treatment options include:
steroids to reduce nasal swelling
and IV antibiotics to fight bacterial infection
and mucolytic agents to thin mucus to help sinus drainage
washes to rinse mucus from the nasal cavity and sinuses
surgery to open the sinus drainage pathways
of the more recent treatment options for chronic sinusitis is
the use of intranasal nebulized antibiotics. A recent study
by Stanford University has analyzed this new effective treatment
for sinusitis, indicating that the use of aerosolized or nebulized
antibiotics in the treatment of sinusitis can bring successful
Allergic fungal sinusitis is caused by extreme
allergic and inflammatory response to a fungal species. It is
a rare complication of chronic sinusitis in which the thick
mucus secretions containing fungus become impacted. Rather
than allergies contributing to sinusitis, the fugal species
developed during chronic sinusitis is the cause of an allergic
reaction. Oral steroids are useful in the management of allergic
fungal sinusitis, but surgical removal of the fungus-loaded
secretions is the proven effective treatment.
Symptoms and Treatment
There is an obvious connection between
allergies and sinusitis. Allergists, ENTs, and patients need
to work together to differentiate between similar symptoms
and choose the most affective and appropriate treatment.
year, more than 35 million Americans suffer from sinusitis
(approximately 1 out of every 7 Americans).
is reported by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology to
be "one of the most expensive disorders in the U.S. and its
prevalence is on the rise."
is one of the leading chronic diseases in the United States
and the National Academy on an Aging Society named sinusitis
the most common chronic condition among Americans.
of the American population is effected by sinusitis according
to a June 1997 report in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical
to the Allergy, Sinusitis, and Asthma Ezine
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