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  • What is Sinusitis?

    The sinuses are hollow pockets in the skull that can fill up with mucus when infected and usually drains out of the nose. Each sinus is covered with a mucous coat, which can become inflamed and swollen, blocking the flow of mucus out of the sinuses. The build up of mucus leads to sinusitis.

    Sinusitis affects many people including children. There are 2 types of sinusitis:

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

    • Anatomical defects of the nose like a crooked nasal septum (separates the nasal cavity into 2 nostrils), untreated allergic rhinitis (allergic swelling of airways in the nose), and tooth 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 the 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
  • Treatment of acute sinusitis includes:

    • 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 reverse 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 clear out infected tissues in the nose
    • Balloon sinuplasty – less invasive than FESS, using specialised instruments to insert a balloon to widen the sinus opening to restore normal mucus flow in the sinuses, without tissue or bone removal
    • The infection may spread to the eye socket or into the fluid surrounding the brain
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