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Sinusitis (Sinus Infection)

  • What is sinusitis?

    The sinuses are hollow pockets in the skull that are covered with a mucous coat and mucus usually drains out from the nose. When the sinuses are infected, they fill up with mucus as they become inflamed and swollen, thereby blocking the flow of mucus out of the sinuses. The build-up of mucus leads to sinusitis.

    Sinusitis affects people of all ages. There are 2 types of sinusitis:

    • Acute sinusitis, also known as acute rhinosinusitis, which lasts up to 4 weeks
    • Chronic sinusitis, which lasts for at least 8 weeks despite treatment
  • Sinusitis is commonly caused by:

    • Anatomical defects of the nose like a crooked nasal septum (bone that separates nasal cavity into the 2 nostrils), untreated allergic rhinitis (swollen airways of the nose) and teeth infections
    • Fungal infections – fungal sinusitis usually affects people with a weakened immune system
    • Viral and bacterial infections – these can be treated in a reasonable amount of time
  • The symptoms of sinusitis include:

    • Bad breath
    • Coughing caused by mucus dripping down the back of the throat
    • Difficulty breathing through the nose due to blockage
    • Tiredness
    • Feeling full in the face
    • Feeling heavy in the head
    • Fever
    • Nausea and giddiness
    • Pain and swelling around the eyes, nose, cheeks and forehead
    • Reduced sense of smell and taste
    • Thick, yellowish or greenish nasal discharge
  • Treatments of acute sinusitis include:

    • Antibiotics and decongestants to manage the infection and restore the natural flow of mucus out of the sinuses

    Treatment of chronic sinusitis involves surgery to resolve the blockage in the sinuses. Surgical options include:

    • Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) – a minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a camera) through the nose to remove infected tissues in the nose
    • Balloon sinuplasty – less invasive than FESS and does not involve bone or tissue removal. It uses specialised instruments to insert a balloon to widen the sinus opening to restore normal mucus flow

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    • The infection may spread to the eye socket or into the fluid surrounding the brain.
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    There are 10 SpecialistsView All