If you’ve had a stuffy nose for more than two weeks now, there’s a good chance that you’re experiencing sinusitis. This happens when the cavities within your face, also known as sinuses, become swollen. It prevents mucus from dripping properly down your nose, making it difficult for you to breathe.
This condition affected over 30.8 million adults in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While sinusitis can clear up on its own, it may cause complications like an eye infection or blood clot. Learn all about this condition and why you should keep it in check.
Types of Sinusitis
- The most common type of sinusitis is called acute sinusitis. It occurs when mucus, often from a common cold, clogs your sinuses. This buildup traps bacteria inside, causing them to multiply rapidly and infect the sinuses. Acute sinusitis often lasts three weeks. It becomes subacute sinusitis if it goes beyond the normal range and persists for up to 12 weeks.
- If your condition lasts more than twelve weeks or recurs, you may be suffering from chronic sinusitis. Blockage from chronic sinusitis is often caused by allergies, according to Harvard Medical School. Inhaling allergens like dust, fungi, mold, or pollen from polluted Denver air can trigger your immune system and release histamines. This compound causes your sinuses to swell and produce more mucus to flush out the allergens in your body. This is why hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is often followed by sinusitis. Other complications like fractures, polyps, or tumors in the nose may also cause congestion.
While there are many types of sinusitis, they all share the same symptoms.
- Apart from a stuffy nose, the most common symptom is facial pain. This is caused by the pressure that comes from mucus and pus buildup.
- You may also feel feverish as your body heats up to fight the infection.
- If the mucus trickles down your throat, it may also cause irritation and coughing.
A sinus infection doesn’t usually spread, even if it’s chronic. But when it does, it can lead to significant complications to your eyes and nervous system. Here are some of them.
- Meningitis – The infection may reach the membranes surrounding your spinal cord and brain and inflame it. This inflammation can cause seizures, hearing loss, permanent brain damage, and even death.
- Swelling Around the Eyes – If the bacteria spread to your eyes, it may make your eyelids swell. This swelling may cause impaired vision. And if it recurs, it may lead to permanent blindness.
What You Can Do About It
People can recover from sinusitis without receiving any treatment. All you need to do is keep your nasal passages clear of mucus to reduce buildup, get lots of rest, take hot showers, and rinse your nasal passages with a neti pot regularly. If you’re experiencing chronic sinusitis, you may need to visit your doctor. They may prescribe you with antihistamines if you have allergies. If they find that you have polyps or tumors in your nose, they may advise you to get nasal surgery.
Sinusitis may seem like a simple annoyance, but the complications that come with it are dire. The next time you get a cold that lasts more than a week, use the symptoms above as a checklist to see if you’re experiencing sinusitis. When frequent nasal passage draining and rest don’t work, see your ENT specialist immediately. The meds you may have to take, or surgery, are all worth it if it means you’ll breathe more easily.
Consult Experienced Nose Specialists
When it comes to nasal problems, you should only trust an experienced nose specialist to help you deal with them. Peak ENT and Voice Center provides treatment for nose issues like stuffy nose, sleep apnea, sinusitis, nosebleeds, postnasal drip, deviated septum, and more. Our specialists work closely with patients to make sure they meet all the patients’ needs through a customized treatment plan. We’ll explore all the possible options to ensure you breathe better — as soon as possible.
Book an appointment with us today.