Diagnosis and Treatment of sinus infections

Sinusitis, also known as rhinosinusitis is a sinus infection when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen and inflamed.

Updated: December 19, 2017

Sinusitis, also known as rhinosinusitis is a sinus infection when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen and inflamed. Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus. But in some cases bacteria or rarely fungus may cause a sinus infection.

Diagnosis of Sinus Infections:

Different sinus test can be done to make a diagnosis which include:

Physical examination :

A doctor can look into the nose with a lighted viewer to see the turbinates, which may be swollen. By a physical examination, may be pressing or taping on the face over the sinuses can check the pain.

Sinus X-ray :

A plain X-ray may show problems with the bones around the sinuses.

Computed tomography or CT scan :

A CT scanner uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the sinuses. CT scanning can help diagnose chronic sinusitis.

Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI :

Magnetic waves create highly detailed images of the sinuses. If you can not get a clear picture in CT scan and need more detailed one, then MRI scans can be done.

Endoscopy or rhinoscopy :

Doctors use a flexible tube with a camera on its end to see inside your nose and sinuses.

Sinus cultures :

Using a needle or endoscopy a mucus sample from inside your sinuses can be collected for further testing.

Skin test for allergies :

These test is done to see if allergies are involved in your sinusitis.

Treatment of Sinus Infections:

A nasal decongestant spray, such as oxymetazoline can be used to help relieve sinus infection symptoms in short-term. You should limit your use of this spray to no more than three days. Longer use can cause a rebound effect in nasal congestion. Prolonged use can make your symptoms worse. 
A steroid nasal spray, such as fluticasone, triamcinolone or mometasone, can help with nasal congestion symptoms without the risk of rebound symptoms from prolonged use. Nasal steroid spray can ease tissue swelling and help prevent the regrowth of nasal polyps. These are mostly used after sinus surgery.
Over-the-counter medicines that contain antihistamines and decongestants can help with sinus infections, particularly if you also suffer from allergies. Sudafed, Zyrtec, Allegra and Claritin are some of the examples.
For people with high blood pressure, prostate issues, glaucoma, or sleep difficulties, decongestants are not recommended. Before taking any of these medicines, talk to your doctor to make sure that they are the best choice for your specific medical condition.
Nasal irrigation can help in both acute and chronic sinusitis, as well as allergic rhinitis and seasonal allergies.
Nasal solutions can be made at home by mixing one cup of prepared warm water with half teaspoon of table salt and half teaspoon of baking soda. The mixture can be sprayed into your nose using a nasal sprayer, or by pouring it in your nose with a Neti pot or sinus rinsing system. This saline and baking soda mixture can help clear your sinuses of discharge, relieve dryness, and flush allergens. 
Make sure not to use tap water directly. It is recommended that you boil the water and allow it to cool, or use a water filtration system. Other options include buying distilled water or using over-the-counter premixed solutions.
Acute sinusitis that are not cured from other treatments such as nasal steroid sprays, pain medications and sinus rinse/irrigation, can be treated with antibiotics, like amoxicillin,. Antibiotics for sinusitis should be taken on consultation of doctor only. A rash, diarrhea or stomach issues are some of the side effects that can result from taking antibiotics for sinusitis. The overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics also leads to superbugs, which are bacteria that cause serious infections and cannot be easily treated. 
Prevention of sinus infections:
Avoiding things that irritate your nose and sinuses can help decrease sinusitis. Cigarette smoking is one of the major cause that can make you prone to sinusitis. Smoking damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat and respiratory system. Quitting smoking can help prevent episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.
To keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands. wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu season.
If you are allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies. You may need to seek an allergy specialist allergic immuno-therapy shots or similar treatments. Keeping your allergies under control can help prevent repeated episodes of sinusitis.  


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