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
- 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
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 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