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General Practice 2023

How to identify and treat Acute Sinusitis

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How to identify and treat Acute Sinusitis
How to identify and treat Acute Sinusitis

Acute sinusitis, or acute rhinosinusitis, is an inflammation of the mucosa that lines the sinuses, structures that surround the nasal cavities. Most of the time, it happens due to a viral or allergic infection, a crisis of allergic rhinitis, and only in a few cases there is a bacterial infection, but it can be difficult to differentiate the causes, as they all cause similar symptoms such as cough, pain in the face and nasal discharge.. Learn how to identify symptoms and differentiate between types of sinusitis.

To be classified as acute sinusitis, the inflammation must last a maximum of 4 weeks, and your symptoms must improve naturally or with treatment prescribed by your GP or ENT. When it is not treated, or when it happens due to resistant microorganisms or associated with weakened immunity, for example, it can progress to subacute sinusitis, which lasts up to 3 months, or chronic sinusitis, with symptoms that persist and exceed 3 months. months.

Main symptoms of acute sinusitis

The most common symptoms that usually appear in an acute sinusitis condition are:

  • Nose or facial pain, usually in the inflamed sinus region, which is worse in the morning;
  • Headache, worse when lying down or lowering the head;
  • Obstruction and nasal discharge, usually yellowish or greenish;
  • Cough worse when lying down;
  • Fever of about 38ÂșC, is present in half of the cases;
  • Bad breath.

Often it can be difficult to differentiate the cause of acute sinusitis from symptoms alone, but most of the time it is caused by a cold or an outbreak of allergic rhinitis, which can also cause symptoms such as headaches throat, conjunctivitis and sneezing.

How to know if it is acute or chronic sinusitis

Acute sinusitis happens most of the time, however, in some cases it can become chronic sinusitis. To differentiate between these situations, one should be aware of the following details that may vary, such as:

Acute Sinusitis Chronic Sinusitis
Duration Up to 4 weeks More than 3 months
Cause Virus infections, allergic rhinitis crisis or bacteria such as S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae and M catarrhalis. Usually arises from acute sinusitis that has not been treated properly.

Because it is caused by more resistant bacteria, or different types of acute infection, such as Prevotella, Peptostreptococcus and Fusobacterium ssp, Streptococcus sp and Staphylococcus aureus, or by fungi and persistent allergy.

Symptoms These are more intense and sudden symptoms. There may be fever, pain in various sinuses. There may be pain located in 1 sinus, or just a feeling of pressure in the face, instead of pain.

Sinusitis can also be recurrent, that is, there are cases of acute sinusitis that recur 3 times in a period of 6 months or 4 times over a period of 1 year, which usually happens in people with weakened immunity or who have recurrent attacks of allergic rhinitis.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of sinusitis is clinical, that is, it is made only with medical evaluation and physical examination. Only in certain cases of doubt, or in cases of chronic sinusitis, to better determine the cause, the doctor may order some tests such as X-ray, computed tomography of the face or nasal endoscopy.

After confirming the cause, the doctor should guide the recommended treatment, usually with anti-inflammatory drugs, nasal or oral decongestants and general measures such as keeping well hydrated throughout the day, nebulization and nasal washing with solution saline.

The use of antibiotics is recommended only when bacterial infection is suspected, and, in more severe and chronic cases, drainage of accumulated secretions may be necessary. Learn more about how sinusitis is treated.

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