One sinus infection can be bad enough, but recurrent sinus infections are a hassle. The pain leaves you feeling fatigued, congested, and puts you in a bad mood. The inability to breathe or taste your food is frustrating. Recurrent sinus infections are technically called sinusitis. It is the inflammation of the sinuses. There are four types of sinusitis. Sinusitis is divided into categories depending on the length of time the infection last. Some may be as short as ten days, and others may last past eight weeks. Nearly 37 million people report having, at least, one sinus infection a year. Certain factors contribute to sinus infections, but treatment is possible.
The sinuses are cavities that sit in the face. You cannot see them, but when a sinus infection occurs, you can feel them. The sinuses are divided into four categories: frontal, maxillary, sphenoid, and ethmoid. The frontal sinus sits in the forehead area. The maxillary sinus is located under the eyes and in the cheek area. Ethmoid and Sphenoid sinuses are both in the nasal area. The sphenoid sinus is found behind the nasal cavity whereas the ethmoid sinus is located on the bridge of the nose. Whenever you are experiencing sinusitis, you tend to develop symptoms such as facial pain, head pressure, and congestion; this is all related to the inflammation within those sinus cavities.
Sinusitis is divided into four categories.
- Acute sinusitis is the best type of sinus infection in that it does not last as long as the rest. Acute sinusitis is the sudden onset of a sinus infection lasting only 10-14 days.
- Subacute sinusitis is also a sudden onset of sinusitis but lasts anywhere from 1-2 months.
- Chronic sinusitis lasts a minimum of 8 weeks. It is a more severe form of sinusitis. The inflammation and symptoms can be ongoing.
- Recurrent sinus infections are those that come on several times within a year. Recurrent sinus infections can be acute, subacute, or chronic. All sinus infections have the same symptoms but some symptoms last longer.
Recurrent Sinus Infection Symptoms
- Watery eyes
- Ear pain
- Increased mucus
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
Sinusitis symptoms are a result of many different factors. Bacteria or virus is one reason for recurrent sinusitis. When bacteria or viruses enter the nasal passage, they have the ability to infect the mucous within both the nasal and sinus cavity. Nasal polyps are another factor for recurrent sinus infections. Nasal polyps are growths that come from the lining of the sinus cavity due to inflammation. These growths can make you more susceptible to recurrent infections.
A deviated septum can cause recurrent infections because it can block drainage. The buildup of drainage makes it an ideal environment for bacteria and virus to settle. If you have a cold or deal with allergies, mucus also tends to build up, and inflammation is more than likely a result. A cold is usually related to acute sinusitis unless you have recurrent colds which may lead to recurrent sinusitis. Allergies can bring recurrent sinus infections, especially during allergy season if you are not consistent with your allergies meds.
Diagnosing Recurrent Sinus Infections
Upon examination, a physician can diagnose sinusitis. If you find yourself having multiple a year, you would be diagnosed as having recurrent sinusitis. Based on your symptoms, and a look at the back of the throat and through the nasal cavity, a physician can diagnose sinusitis. In some cases, a doctor will look in the nasal passage with an endoscope. The endoscope contains a microscope that allows the doctor to see whether or not inflammation is occurring. The doctor may use local anesthesia for the nose since the exam can be uncomfortable. An endoscope is used in cases that a doctor suspects polyps or a deviated septum.
Treatment for sinusitis includes decongestants and antibiotics. In chronic and recurrent sinus infections, home remedies may also be used in conjunction with the antibiotics and decongestants. If you suffer from recurrent sinus infections, you should invest in a humidifier or vaporizer. Both the humidifier and vaporizer help open up the nasal passage. The warm moist air contributes to relieving congestion. Nasal drops are also effective. If you also have allergies, it is good to take antihistamines or use nasal sprays. These medications work together to decrease the chance of swelling and congestion. Surgery is only necessary in extreme cases. When recurrent sinus infections are due to nasal polyps or a deviated septum, surgery is typically the form of treatment. Preventative measures for recurrent sinus infections include drinking plenty of water and staying away from smoking. Smoking fills the airways with dust and particles that can lead to sinus infections.
A sinus infection is never fun. The inability to breathe through your nose, loss of appetite and fatigue can be burdensome. If you are suffering from sinusitis, take measures to try to prevent recurring sinus infections. If sinus infections persist, it may be in your best interest to be examined by an ear, nose, and throat physician. Some recurrent sinus infections may require surgery as treatment. Those with enlarged tonsils or adenoids may need them removed to cut down on the possibility of a future infection. Do not be alarmed, recurrent sinusitis is treatable and not considered life-threatening. You may feel as if recurrent sinus infections are controlling your life; take control back today and live a life free of congestion.
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