About Sinusitis

Learn about the most common chronic disease in America and its affect on your body

Sinus location diagramSinusitis, also commonly called a sinus infection or rhinosinusitis, is an inflammation of the mucus-lined, air-filled spaces in your skull that connect to the nose and throat. When the sinuses become clogged, inflamed, blocked or swollen air and other fluids (pus or other secretions) can be trapped creating vacuums and/or pressure which cause pain, often intense pain. Clogged sinuses can also invite infection.

The conventional view of Sinusitis stipulates that it is caused by viral infection, bacterial infection, or rarely, a fungal infection. This view also states sinusitis occurs when the body’s immune system is unable to stop harmful bacteria, viruses or fungi from reproducing in the sinuses.

We believe the true cause of chronic sinusitis is an allergic reaction to MOLD. This has been medically proven for years, yet mainstream medicine has failed to embrace this approach. Research done by the Mayo Clinic in 1999, demonstrates that in 93% of Sinusitis cases the infections are symptoms of the Sinusitis not the cause. In fact, it they showed that it was exposure to an antigen (medical word for mold or fungi exposure) that causes the immune system to react thereby creating the disease.

How does a reaction to mold cause sinus infections?

Reactions are caused internally when the body is invaded by mold spores - when you breathe in air contaminated by spores. The body defends itself against foreign substances (antigens) by attacking, our white blood cells do this by releasing major basic proteins. These proteins are essentially a caustic acid which can also destroy the tissue surrounding the antigen. In the sinuses this causes a pitting of tissue there, these pits then collect bacteria which is the source of sinus infections.

Allergic reaction to mold is often genetic

Sinusitis caused by an an allergic reaction to mold only occurs in 16% of the population. It has been medically shown that the root cause is a genetic T-Cell abnormality that makes them predisposed to mold sensitivity. This explains why only one person out of several living or working in the same moldy environment will show symptoms. It is also common with this genetic marker to be misdiagnosed by allergists who test and treat only for Immediate Reaction Mold Allergies which are verified by testing for IgE antibodies. These antibodies are the easiest to detect in the physician’s office. This mold reaction is easily controlled by antihistamines like Claritin or Zyrtec. Unfortunately, those showing an immediate reaction comprise only 30% of sufferers. The fact is 70% of Chronic Sinusitis sufferers have Delayed Reaction Mold Allergies. These are discovered by testing for IgG (as opposed to IgE) antibodies. This type of trigger for Chronic Sinusitis requires a different approach as it cannot be handled with antibiotics, steroids, antihistamines, decongestants, allergy shots or antihistamines for anything other than short term relief.

Sometimes you have to specifically request that an IgG Delayed Reaction test be performed. It is not part of the regular battery of tests run by most doctors, but it will let you know definitively if mold is a key trigger for you.

Sinus location diagram

Sinusitis is described by:  1. Location   /  2. Type   /  3. Classification

Symptoms of Sinusitis by Specific Site

Frontal

Frontal sinuses are located on both sides of the forehead. These sinuses are late in developing, so infection here is uncommon in children.

    Acute
  • Severe headache in the forehead.

    Fever (common but not always present).

    Symptoms are worse when lying on the back and when pressing against the area over the eye on the side closest to the nose.

    Symptoms are better when the head is upright.

    Nasal discharge or postnasal drip.

    Symptoms indicating medical emergency:

    Increasing severity of symptoms, particularly severe headache, altered vision, mild personality or mental changes (may indicate spread of infection to brain).

    Fever, vision changes, fixed or dilated pupil. Symptoms spreading to both sides of face (may indicate blood clot).

    Headache, fever, along with a soft swelling over the bone (may indicate bone infection).

    Chronic

    Persistent, low-grade headache in the forehead.

    History of physical injury or other damage to the sinus area.

Maxillary

Maxillary sinuses are located behind the cheek bones. They are present at birth and continue to develop as long as teeth erupt, in some cases, tooth roots can penetrate the floor of these sinuses.

    Acute
  • Pain across the cheekbone, under or around the eye, or around the upper teeth; may occur on one or both sides of the face.

    Area over the cheekbone is tender and may be red or swollen.

    Possibly tooth pain.

    Symptoms are worse when the head is upright and improve when patient reclines.

    Nasal discharge or postnasal drip.

    Fever.

    Chronic

    Discomfort or pressure below the eye.

    Chronic toothache.

    Symptoms become worse with colds, flu, or allergies.

    Discomfort increases during the day.

    Coughing increases at night.

Ethmoid

Ethmoid sinuses are located between the eyes. They resemble a honeycomb and are vulnerable to obstruction. This is a common location for sinusitis in children.

    Acute
  • Nasal congestion.

    Nasal discharge or postnasal drip.

    Pain or pressure around the inner corner of the eye or down one side of the nose.

    Headache in the temple or surrounding the eye.

    Symptoms worse when coughing, straining, or lying on the back and better when the head is upright.

    Fever.

    Symptoms of maxillary sinusitis often occur.

    Symptoms indicating medical emergency:

    Increasing severity of symptoms.

    Fever, swelling and drooping eyelid, loss of eye movement (possible orbital infection, which is in the eye socket).

    Fever, vision changes, pupil fixed or dilated. Symptoms spreading to both sides of face (may indicate blood clot).

    Chronic

    Chronic nasal discharge, obstruction, and low-grade discomfort usually across the bridge of the nose.

    Symptoms worse in the late morning or when wearing glasses.

    Chronic sore throat and bad breath.

Sphenoid

Sphenoid sinuses are located behind the eyes. They usually are present by age 3 and are fully developed by age 12.

    Acute
  • Deep headache with pain in many places, including the back and top of the head, across the forehead, and behind the eye.

    Fever.

    Symptoms are worse when lying on the back or bending forward.

    Nasal discharge or postnasal drip.

    Symptoms indicating medical emergency:

    Increasing severity of symptoms, particularly severe headache, altered vision, mild personality or mental changes (may indicate spread of infection to brain).

    Chronic

    Low grade, general headache (although not always present).

 

(Adapted from: Sinus Disease: Guide to First-line Management. D. Kennedy, Ed. 1994 Health Communications, Inc. Adrian, CT.)

If you suspect that you have Chronic Sinusitis? Try the following: