Chronic sinusitis occurs when the spaces inside your nose and head (sinuses) are swollen and inflamed for three months or longer, despite treatment. This common condition interferes with the way mucus normally drains, and makes your nose stuffy.
It can be difficult to get rid of the inflammation completely, but the symptoms can be relieved. Common symptoms include stuffy nose and pain in the cheeks and / or forehead.
Chronic sinusitis can either be due to sinusitis that never passes or develops slowly. People who have asthma, allergy or nasal polyps are more easily affected by chronic sinusitis. This also applies to those who have different dental problems or smoke.
Following are the most common causes of chronic sinusitis:
- Allergies especially hay fever or environmental allergies (such as to pollen or chemicals). These can cause your nasal passages to become inflamed.
- Tissue growths known as polyps inside your nose. Nasal polyps can make it hard to breathe through your nose and block your sinuses.
- An uneven wall of tissue between your nostrils. This is known as a deviated septum and it can limit air flow in one or both of your nostrils.
- Infections in your nose, windpipe, or lungs by viruses or bacteria (including colds). These are called respiratory tract infections. They can cause your nose to become inflamed and make it hard for mucus to drain out of your nose.
Other health conditions can cause chronic sinusitis too, including:
- asthma – a condition that causes chronic inflammation in your airways
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – disease of your digestive tract
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a virus that can weaken your immune system
- cystic fibrosis – a condition in which the mucus in your body builds up and doesn’t drain properly, often causing bacterial infections
When you get a cold you get various symptoms in the nose and sinuses. The cold can lead to sinusitis. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis are the same as in sinusitis, but they last longer:
- a poor sense of smell
- pain in the cheeks and / or forehead – sometimes the face is swollen
- pain in the upper jaw
- stuffy nose – sometimes with fever.
Prevention and protection
It is difficult to recover from chronic sinusitis completely, but you can relieve the symptoms.
Use a saline solution made of water and salt to lubricate your nasal passages. This helps mucus drain more easily. This solution can also relieve swelling. Inhale steam from hot water or use a humidifier to help mucus drain and reduce inflammation.
Nasal spray with cortisone can reduce nasal congestion. Smoking aggravates the symptoms and you will feel better if you stop.
Treatments for chronic sinusitis include:
- Nasal corticosteroids.
- Saline nasal irrigation, with nasal sprays or solutions, reduces drainage and rinses away irritants and allergies.
- Oral or injected corticosteroids.
- Aspirin desensitization treatment, if you have reactions to aspirin that cause sinusitis.
In severe cases, surgical procedures may be relevant – but not always. Feel free to ask your doctor about different treatment options.
When to consult a doctor
If you have had problems with a stuffy nose and pain in the sinuses for a long time, you should contact a doctor. If a case of sinusitis lasts longer than a week or two, it is likely to be chronic and should be checked. While acute sinusitis can improve on its own after the cold or flu has passed, chronic infections may require treatment.
How APPOTEK can help
APPOTEK can help you with chronic sinusitis. A doctor or nurse will make an initial diagnosis during the video consultation. They can also give prescriptions or refer you for further examination, if needed.