Sinusitis can be acute or chronic (prolonged).
Acute sinusitis is caused by a viruses or bacteria that spreads from the nose and into the sinuses, typically in connection with colds. It is believed that only between 0.5-2% of colds are complicated by acute bacterial sinusitis.
After an acute sinusitis, pus can easily be left in the sinuses, especially if the passage from the sinuses to the nose is narrow. This plaster can lead to a vicious circle with chronic inflammation. A sinusitis is chronic when it has lasted for over three months despite treatment.
Acute sinusitis typically has symptoms such as a stuffy nose, discolored nasal secretions, pain and / or pressure over the eyes or in the cheeks, possibly toothache. In some cases, you may have a fever and generally feel unwell.
Chronic sinusitis is a condition with persistent inflammation of the nasal mucosa and sinuses. Typical symptoms are constant snoring, nasal congestion, facial pain and loss of sense of smell.
What can I do myself?
Sinusitis is usually associated with moderate to severe pain. Paracetamol and ibuprofen have a good effect on pain. Regular painkillers during the period of illness are recommended, for example 3 times a day for 5 days.
For mild sinusitis, it helps to lie with your head high. It can also have an effect to rinsing the nose with saline once or twice a day. At the pharmacy you can buy a "rhino" for this use. If you have hay fever, the use of cortisone-containing nasal sprays and antihistamines is recommended during the pollen season. This is allergy medicine that prevents the nasal mucosa from swelling.
You can use mucus-swelling nasal sprays or drops, which you can buy without a prescription at the pharmacy. The medicine causes the swelling in the mucous membrane to decrease, so that the exit passages from the sinuses can become more open. Do not use such medicine for more than five consecutive days, as it may cause changes in the nasal mucosa during prolonged use. An alternative for moderate ailments is nasal spray that contains cortisone. These reduce inflammation in the mucous membranes and can be used for a long time (requires a prescription). Cortisone in tablet form has no effect when used alone.
Antibiotics in the form of regular penicillin are used only in a few cases - if the doctor suspects that the infection is caused by bacteria and the symptoms are pronounced and has lasted for more than a week. Research suggests that antibiotics have little effect on acute sinusitis, and are probably used unnecessarily often. Most people get well without antibiotics. Even in cases where bacteria are the cause of sinusitis, almost as many recover without antibiotics. However, in the case of severe and persistent ailments, treatment with antibiotics is recommended.
In case of prolonged sinusitis, daily saline rinses to remove mucus and other blocking matter have proven to be a safe and useful treatment. It alleviates the ailments and often reduces the use of medication. In case of severe ailments, it may be appropriate to puncture the sinuses and flush them. Such treatment is performed by an ear-nose-throat specialist.
What can Eyr help with?
- Eyr can assess the condition and give advice on treatment.
- Eyr can prescribe medications such as mucosal decongestant nasal spray or cortisone.
- Eyr can renew regular medications.
- Eyr can refer to a Ear-Nose-Throat doctor specialist if needed.
- Please note that Eyr does not prescribe antibiotics.
Reference: Norwegian Medical Handbook, NEL
edited and medically quality assured by Dr. Theresa Franck, specialist in general medicine.