Understanding Sinusitis

What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, is a common condition that affects around 29 million U.S. adults each year. It occurs when the tissues lining the sinuses become inflamed and swollen, leading to a buildup of mucus and pressure in the sinuses. While many cases of sinusitis can be treated with over-the-counter medications, some cases require medical intervention.

What are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?

Symptoms of sinusitis can include:

  • Facial pain
  • Headache
  • Facial pressure
  • Congestion

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention. A qualified ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist can diagnose and treat sinusitis, helping you find relief from your symptoms and prevent complications.

Types of Sinusitis

There are several types of sinusitis, including acute, chronic, and recurrent sinusitis. Each type has its own set of symptoms and treatment options. 

  • Acute sinusitis typically lasts for a few days to, maximum, four weeks and is usually caused by a bacterial infection. 
  • Recurrent sinusitis is similar to the acute form but is characterized by repeated bouts of the illness with periods of relief in between. 
  • Chronic sinusitis can last for months or years and may be caused by allergies or other underlying conditions. Those who suffer from chronic sinusitis rarely get relief from their symptoms and need treatment in order to improve their quality of life. 

“Sinusitis can significantly impact one’s quality of life, and millions are affected by its various forms annually. At Granville Health System’s ENT practice, we commonly encounter sinusitis cases and emphasize the importance of seeking care promptly. If you’re experiencing symptoms, remember that seeking medical attention can lead to effective treatment and improved well-being,” said Dr. Richard Alexander, MD, PhD, MBA – Granville Health System

Is Sinusitis Contagious?

No, sinusitis is not contagious. However, the bacteria and viruses that cause sinusitis are contagious and can be spread through the air or through touch. 

If a viral infection is the root cause of sinusitis, it can be contagious, as the virus can spread to others, potentially leading to a cold or another form of upper respiratory infection, which might then evolve into sinusitis. However, if sinusitis is due to bacteria or allergens, it is not contagious. The inflammation and symptoms are confined to the individual and cannot be transmitted to someone else.

Treatment for Sinusitis

Depending on the type and severity of your sinusitis, your ENT specialist may recommend different treatment options. These may include:

  • Antibiotics: If your sinusitis is caused by a bacterial infection, your ENT specialist may prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection.
  • Nasal corticosteroids: These medications can reduce inflammation in the sinuses, making it easier to breathe and reducing facial pressure.
  • Decongestants: These medications can help reduce congestion and improve breathing.
  • Saline nasal irrigation: This involves flushing out the sinuses with a saline solution, which can help reduce inflammation and remove excess mucus.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat chronic or recurrent sinusitis. This may involve removing polyps or other blockages from the sinuses or repairing a deviated septum.

It is important to note that not all cases of sinusitis require medical treatment. In some cases, the condition may resolve on its own with rest, hydration, and over-the-counter medications. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, it is important to seek medical attention.

How to Relieve Sinus Pressure at Home

Some effective ways to reduce sinus pressure include:

  • Steam Inhalation: Breathing in steam can help moisten the sinuses and loosen mucus. You can take a hot shower or breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water, being careful to avoid burns.
  • Warm Compresses: Applying a warm, damp towel to your face can alleviate pain and pressure.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids helps thin the mucus, promoting drainage from the sinuses.
  • Elevate Your Head: Sleeping with your head elevated can assist in better sinus drainage and reduce congestion.

If your sinus pressure persists despite trying these methods, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional, as you may require more specific treatments, such as prescription medications or other interventions.

For the past 100 years, Granville Health System has been delivering quality health care close to home. To meet the growing needs of our community, Granville Health System has expanded its services throughout Granville County, offering convenient access to medical care where you work and live.