When the days become cooler again, many catch a sinusitis. After all: As a rule, you don’t have to go to the doctor’s office immediately. However, the complaints can last for a long time. There is probably hardly anyone who has never had a sinusitis. It occurs very frequently and is above all annoying. “But mostly it can be treated well,” says ENT specialist Professor Fabian Sommer from Ulm University Hospital.
Sinusitis is often the result of a flu-like infection. In some cases it is also anatomically caused. Two doctors explain how to treat sinusitis and when to seek medical advice.
These are cavities in the skull that are lined with mucous membrane. They include the frontal and maxillary sinuses above and below the orbit, the so-called ethmoid cells between the main orbit and the nasal cavity and the sphenoidal sinuses.
Doctors distinguish between three types: acute, recurrent (acute) and chronic sinusitis, as the sinusitis is also called. Typical symptoms of acute sinusitis include restricted nasal breathing, secretion flow from the nose and down the throat, pain in the face, fever and often headaches, according to Munich general practitioner Professor Jörg Schelling.
What are the paranasal sinuses?
In chronic cases, the complaints are often less pronounced. “But they are no less stressful. Often affected people can no longer smell. “The inflammation also damages and partially destroys the olfactory cells,” explains Schelling. With at least two out of three affected persons, however, this improves by itself. Only in chronic cases do some patients lose their ability to smell permanently after years of active inflammation.
In the case of sinusitis, it is not necessary to go into the practice of trust immediately. “First of all one should take action against it at home”, Schelling recommends. He advises a common salt solution, for example in the form of nose drops or spray from the pharmacy, and inhalation. Antibiotics should be avoided from its view if possible. Schelling sees exceptions only in the case of chronic inflammatory lung disease or suppression of the immune system (immunosuppression). “The patient can also take antibiotics if there are indications of complications such as severe headaches or facial swelling, as well as if the inflammation levels are significantly increased.
The danger exists at all times. “In the case of acute sinusitis, the symptoms last less than twelve weeks,” explains ENT specialist Sommer. In the case of a recurring acute inflammation, there are four or more episodes of complaints within twelve months, between which there are intervals without complaints. According to Sommer, one speaks of a chronic inflammation “if the complaints persist for longer than twelve weeks and at the same time an inflammation can be detected during an endoscopic examination of the nose or in a computer tomography of the paranasal sinuses”.
In acute and chronic sinusitis, the inflammation may well spread to neighboring structures. In this case, inflammation can occur with accumulation of pus in the eye socket, meninges or brain. A spread of the inflammation into the bloodstream (sepsis) is also possible, Fabian Sommer explains. Such serious complications are rare, however. (vb/source: Angelika Mayr, dpa)
Problems with the paranasal sinuses
If the courses are already chronic, a symptomatic treatment by nasal rinsing with salt solution can be used, explains general practitioner Schelling. “Myrtol oils or eucalyptus extracts can be regularly used here”. Painkillers are allowed if necessary. Possibly a cortisonhaltige nasal spray can help with chronic swellings and irritations, implements the family doctor from Munich Martinsried. In consultation with the physician a therapy with Cortison in tablet form can be considered beyond that. Read also: Sinusitis – symptoms, causes and effective home remedies.
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.