Bad cold? It could be sinusitis...
What are sinuses?
Sinuses are passageways in the bone that are almost closed in on themselves. They're located behind the nasal cavity, which joins onto them. The main sinuses are the frontal sinuses right behind your brow. There are also maxillary sinuses, which lie behind your eye sockets.
The symptoms of sinusitis
After a bad cold, flu or a tooth infection, you might feel that things still aren’t quite right. Some of the signs of sinusitis are:
- A nasal voice
- Swallowing mucus
- Pressure on your eye sockets
- Bad hearing
- Permanently blocked nose
- The feeling that your head weighs a ton when you lean forwards
You may even have a fever, bouts of fatigue and headaches as well. You shouldn’t ignore these symptoms, as sinusitis can quickly become a chronic condition and make treatment difficult.
Treatment of sinusitis
Local treatments include nasal sprays and drops to dry out the mucus and disinfect the area affected. Oral treatments include antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, which are often essential to beat the vicious cycle of inflammation and infection.
In cases where sinusitis has become chronic, injections of local anaesthetic are sometimes used. Some patients may even undergo surgery. These techniques are usually carried out using endoscopy, which considerably increases their effectiveness.
Courses of treatment like inhaling sulphurous water or water vapour can also alleviate symptoms. Acupuncture and osteopathy have proved successful in helping to drain sinuses naturally, too.
How do you stop sinusitis coming back?
First, learn to spot potential triggers of allergic reactions. Allergies are often the underlying cause of sinusitis. Seasonal pollen, dust mites or mould are all things to watch out for.
Physical causes include a deviated septum, which can encourage sinusitis. Tooth decay can also be a trigger if abscesses are left untreated. Finally, make sure you don’t neglect a cold that affects your eyes. There is a good chance that this is the start of full-blown sinusitis.
Dr Alain Dubois