Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses
Sinuses are empty cavities within your cheek bones, around your eyes and behind your nose. Their main job is to warm, moisten and filter air in your nasal cavity. Sinusitis is often caused by a bacterial infection, and can occur following a viral respiratory infection such as “cold”. If the normal drainage of mucus is blocked from the sinuses, which can occur with respiratory infections, this can lead to a secondary bacterial sinusitis infection.
Allergic rhinitis also puts you at risk of developing sinusitis because allergies can cause swelling of the sinuses and nasal mucous linings. This swelling prevents the sinus cavities from draining, and increases your chances of developing secondary bacterial sinusitis as well.
To diagnose sinusitis your allergist will take a detailed history and perform a physical examination. He or she may also order additional testing including allergy tests to determine which triggers are causing your nasal swelling, sinus xray or a sinus CT scan.
Treatment includes a combination of therapies
Your physician will prescribe therapy aimed at reducing the blockage and controlling allergies if present, which helps keep the sinus passages open. Most treatment plans will also include saline irrigation, nasal steroid sprays, antihistamines/decongestants, and antibiotics. For people with allergies, long term treatment to control and reduce allergic symptoms can also help in preventing symptoms.
Immunotherapy is the most effective long term approach and can help decrease the recurrence of chronic sinusitis.