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Sinusitis is One of the Most Diagnosed Diseases in the US

Every year 35 million Americans are affected by chronic sinusitis, making sinusitis one of the most diagnosed diseases in the United States, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

When one or more of your paranasal sinuses are inflamed, sinusitis can occur. The paranasal sinuses are the hollow cavities within the cheek bones around the eyes and behind the nose. Symptoms of sinusitis include thick yellow-green nasal discharge, cough, head congestion, headache, feelings of facial swelling, toothache, constant fatigue, and occasional fever. If you experience ongoing headaches or facial pain during cold weather, the AAAAI suggests that you may have sinusitis and, if so you can be treated for the pain.

"Sinusitis is very common in the winter and can last for months or years if inadequately treated," said Brian A. Smart, MD, FAAAAI, and Chair of the AAAAI's Rhinosinusitis Committee. "It is more likely that people with other allergic diseases such as allergies or asthma will develop sinusitis."

Recognize Your Sinusitis Symptoms
Based on the AAAAI's Consultation and Referral Guidelines, patients should see an allergist/immunologist about possible sinus infections if they:

- Have symptoms of sinusitis.
- Have chronic or recurrent infectious rhinosinusitis.
- Have other types of chronic rhinosinusitis.
- Have allergic fungal rhinosinusitis.
- Have other allergic diseases and are interested in learning sinusitis prevention methods.

Allergists/Immunologies can determine what triggers your sinusitis symptoms, as well as other triggers that might be causing sinus obstruction. The physician can also recommend treatment options for a sinus infection and can help you determine whether or not a visit with an ENT/Otolaryngologist is need for consideration for sinus surgery.

Sinusitis Therapies
Sinusitis generally requires a combination of therapies. According to the practice parameter The Diagnosis and Management of Sinusitis: A Practice Parameter Update, antibiotics should not be prescribed for 10 to 14 days, unless severe symptoms such as fever, facial pain or tenderness, or swelling around the eye develop. An allergist/immunologist may also prescribe a medication to reduce blockage or to control allergies to help keep the sinus passages open if needed. This medicine can include a decongestant, a mucus-thinning medicine or a cortisone nasal spray. Antihistamines, cromolyn and topical steroid nasal sprays can help control allergic inflammation. Other non-medicine treatments that can be helpful to control and reduce symptoms of sinusitis include breathing in hot moist air, applying hot packs and washing the nasal cavities with salt water (often referred to as nasal irrigation).

Predisposing Positions for Sinusitis
If you have predisposing conditions that lead to excess mucus and inflammation of the nose, such as allergies or structural nasal problems, you are more likely to develop sinusitis.

Any predisposing factors make it important to have a long-term management plan to help control allergic diseases and to keep the nasal inflammation well controlled with medications between sinusitis episodes, and for consideration of surgical repair of structural abnormalities, if present and all other medical treatments have failed.

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