Know the most common causes of sinusitis
What is Sinusitis?
It is the inflammation of the membrane lining a nasal sinus. There are many different causes that include:
Viral infection, such as the common cold/flu:
In these cases the body reacts by producing mucus and sending white blood cells to the lining of the nose, which congest and swell the nasal passages. When this swelling involves the adjacent mucous membranes of the sinuses, air and mucus are trapped behind the narrowed opening of the sinuses.
Some bacterial strains are normal inhabitant of the upper respiratory tract e.g. Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae. These bacteria have no ill effects until the body’s defenses are weakened or when drainage from the sinuses is blocked by a cold or other viral infection, then they start to be virulent and cause infection of the upper respiratory tract and secondary sinusitis.
Fungi or molds are abundant in the environment and they are usually harmless to healthy people. However, 16% -20% of the population has a genetic T-cell defect which gives them a predisposition to mold sensitivities that cause an immune reaction. The allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash known as Dermatitis. They can also have systemic symptoms such as muscle, joint pain, fibromyalgia, GI sysptoms, and fatigue. Certain fungi, such as Aspergillus, Cladospporium, Penicillium, Fusarium, and Curvularia can cause serious illness in people with genetic sensitivities and in some people without genetic T-cell defects.
Inhalation of airborne allergens, such as dust, mold, and pollen, often set off allergic reactions that, in turn, may contribute to sinusitis. Hay fever may also be complicated by episodes of acute sinusitis. Patients with allergic rhinitis also often have chronic sinusitis.
>>Food allergies are a complicating factor should not be overlooked either as they can compound allergic rhinitis as well.
Inflammation caused by humidity, cold air, alcohol, perfumes, and other environmental conditions, also may be complicated by sinus infections.
Immune deficiencies and HIV infection:
Those patients are more susceptible to develop acute sinusitis than the general population.
Cystic fibrosis and diseases of abnormal cilia:
Acute and chronic sinusitis could happen as a result of abnormal mucus secretion or cilia movement.
Deviated nasal septum or other obstruction of the nose due to nasal polyps may trap fluid in the sinuses.
As one ages, the nasal mucus loses its water content and becomes increasingly thick and sticky. Patients complain of post-nasal drip, cough, and hoarseness; the condition is best treated with nasal irrigation and increased hydration.
The presence of tumors in the sinuses is relatively uncommon.
Need To Know:
The symptoms of sinusitis are very similar to those of the common cold. Especially with children, the symptoms may mimic a cold, and only a doctor’s examination can determine the true cause. If the symptoms do not subside within 10 days, or if there is any fever, a doctor should be consulted.
When to see a doctor:
If you have mild symptoms of sinusitis, try self-care. Contact your doctor if you have any of the following:
• Symptoms that don’t improve within a few days or symptoms that get worse
• A persistent fever
• A history of recurrent or chronic sinusitis
See a doctor immediately if you have signs or symptoms that may indicate a serious infection:
• Pain or swelling around your eyes
• Swollen forehead
• Severe headache
• Double vision or other vision changes
• Stiff neck
• Shortness of breath