Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Treat Symptom of Sinus Infection

How to Treat Symptom of Sinus Infection

Main purpose of the sinusitis treatment is to get rid of symptom of sinus infection. The treatment drains off the sinuses, removes infection and reduces swelling, keeping sinuses unclogged. Although home remedies can be helpful, consult the doctor for reliable and quick treatment.

Acute Sinusitis Treatment




If symptom of sinus infection ranges from mild to moderate, expectorants, antihistamines and decongestants can be taken for seven to ten days. These patients should not take antibiotics, especially during the first week.

Chronic Sinusitis Treatment

Chronic sinusitis is an offshoot of acute sinus infection that was not treated in timely manner. The anaerobic and aerobic bacteria present in acute and chronic conditions are different. The objective of chronic sinusitis treatment is to enhance quality of life of the patient, if it is not curable.

Patients suffering from chronic sinusitis may need therapy for longer period. Antibiotics may be helpful for these patients. If the condition improves within two months, antibiotics can be discontinued. However, saline nasal solutions and steroids should be continued. If the condition does not improve even after two months, surgery is required.

Doctors may prescribe oral corticosteroids for patients with nasal polyps or patients not responding to nasal corticosteroids. Oral corticosteroids are also administered to patients suffering from allergic fungal sinusitis.

Generally, regular saline nasal irrigation is required.

To identify main trigger of chronic symptoms of sinus infection, a thorough diagnosis is necessary. Diagnostic check up should rule out any associated conditions, such as structural problems in any of the nasal passages, gastro esophageal reflux disorder, ailments related to immune system, asthma and allergies. If the trigger is found, it should be controlled or treated at the earliest.

Some of chronic sinusitis patients, especially the patients with associated medical disorders that can worsen the symptoms, may require intravenous antibiotic therapy. The therapy is generally given two weeks prior to surgery and one month after the surgery.

Mild symptoms other than acute infection signscan be treated with home remedies. For instance, hydration keeps the sinuses open. Drink lot of water to lubricate the mucus membranes. Alternatively, hot beverages like chicken soup, hot tea with lemon and honey, and ginger tea may relieve aches and congestion. Steam inhalation for two to four times a day will be very useful. A nasal wash helps in draining of the mucus. Regular nasal passage irrigation with hypertonic saline solution reduces symptoms and minimizes use of antibiotics.

Treatment for Sinus Infection Spread Beyond the Sinuses

If the infection has spread beyond the sinuses and entered into parts of the skull such as brain and bone, emergency treatment is required. Emergency surgery may also be required. Antibiotics may be given intravenously.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tips to Avoid Side Effects of Decongestants

Tips to Avoid Side Effects of Decongestants 

Decongestant is a medication that relieves stuffy nose and helps in breathing easily. Decongestants remove mucus from the clogged nose, but the drugs may harm some patients. For instance, the medication may increase blood sugar level of diabetics and blood pressure of patients suffering from high blood pressure. So consult a doctor before administering a decongestant, especially to people already suffering from blood vessel diseases, diabetes, heart problems, glaucoma, high blood pressure, mental illness, prostate diseases or thyroid disorders.






Oral decongestants may cause anxiety, breathing problems, convulsions, difficulty in passing urine, fear, hallucinations, pale skin and tightness in the chest. Consulting a physician is thus must before using the drug.

Decongestants when taken with some other medicines may cause severe problems, so do not administer them together. For example, do not use Monoamine oxidase inhibitors with decongestants.

Repeated use of decongestant nose drops and nasal sprays for several consecutive days may result in rebound congestion. Nasal congestion persists or worsens with every dose of decongestant during the rebound congestion. Stop the drops or sprays and contact the physician. Congestion may go away in a week or so after stopping the use of the decongestants.

Nasal sprays should be administered for just three days, while oral decongestants should be taken for a week only. If fever occurs with the congestion or the congestion remains, consult a physician instead of continuing to use the decongestants.

Check expiry date of decongestant nasal drops and sprays, and oral decongestants before using. Discolored and / or cloudy decongestants should not be used.

Do not share spray bottles and droppers to ensure that the infection does not spread. Bottle tips and droppers should not touch any surface.

Some decongestants cause sleepiness, so do not drive after taking the drug. Or, do not do anything or use machines that may be dangerous.

Administer smaller doses of decongestants to the older patients, as they are more sensitive to the medication. Do not use decongestants of long-acting forms for them.

Some decongestants are very strong for children who are also more sensitive to the drugs. Read and follow instructions on the decongestant’s label carefully. Ensure that they do not swallow nasal sprays and nose drops.

Some people are allergic to decongestants, so physicians’ advice is required. Some of the scientific studies concluded that decongestants affect fetuses. So, women who are in the family way should take decongestants under the supervision of a physician. Decongestants may also contaminate breast milk causing side effects in infant, so breast-feeding women should consult a physician.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Herbal Treatment for Symptoms of Sinus Infection

Herbal Treatment for Symptoms of Sinus Infection

Several herbs are used to treat symptoms of sinus infection. For instance, antimicrobial herbs stimulate immune system. Anticatarrhal herbs eliminate the buildup affecting the sinuses. Astringent herbs decrease mucus production. Diaphoretics are recommended for the fever associated with the infection. Analgesic herbs give temporary relief from pain. Lymphatic herbs improve drainage and the immune system.




Herbs, minerals and vitamins supply useful nutrients at the cellular level. These substances can kill disease producing viruses and disrupt their growth and development, strengthening the immune system and protecting you against various diseases. Herbs are used in three forms:

  1. tinctures – alcohol extracts,
  2. glycerites- extracts of glycerine and
  3. dried herbs- teas, powders and capsules.

Some herbs help in treating the sinus infection directly, whereas others have indirect benefits. For instance, eyebright reduces sinus inflammation and congestion, while coneflower strengthens immune system. Wild indigo helps in controlling symptoms of sinus infection. Antibacterial and antiviral properties of goldenseal root heal the infection. Licorice has antiviral properties, but the herb should not be used if patient has high blood pressure.

Ginger tea with garlic improves drainage and immune system. Ginger root extracts thin the drainage associated with sinus infections. Ginger compresses placed over the infected sinus area give relief. St. John’s wort and Jamaican dogwood relieves pain.

Camphor, thyme, lavender, pine, rosemary, peppermint and eucalyptus –essential oils- are useful in treating the infections of the upper respiratory system. The oils also relieve congestion of the sinus. Oregano oil extracts have antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidant properties that help in treating the infection.

Olive tree leaf extracts boost the immune system and maintain healthy level of blood pressure. The leaf has oleuropein that disrupts reproduction of viruses, stopping their growth. Pills or teas of the olive leaf extracts are helpful for the sinus infection.

Other useful herbs include turmeric extracts, kudzu, Echinacea and fenugreek. Echinacea promotes immunity while fenugreek reduces mucus.  A combination of bayberry, burdock root, ginger root, goldenseal root, white willow bark, parsley, white pine, cloves, horehound, althea root, cayenne, yerba santa, feverfew and fenugreek seeds relives pain, pressure, congestion and stuffiness associated with the sinus. But, do consult a doctor, health service provider or physician for the right combination and dosage of the herbs.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lasers for Surgery-sinus

Lasers are commonly used for all kinds of surgeries. However, lasers are not the main surgical tool for surgery-sinus. In some pathologies, the laser is very helpful and a perfect choice, whereas it may produce edema and trauma in other cases.

While using the laser, doctor should consider a number of factors, including expected results, safety, instrumentation and pathology type. An array of lasers is available for surgery-sinus. The most commonly used lasers are carbon dioxide, holmium:yttrium aluminum garnet, neodymium:yttrium aluminum garnet and potassium titanyl phosphate lasers.




A carbon dioxide (CO2) laser is cumbersome equipment due to its stiff articulating arm. Precision, hemostasis, surgical access and handpiece quality of the laser are poor.

If a holmium:yttrium aluminum garnet (Ho: YAG) laser is used with water medium, the laser minimizes charring and thermal reaction. If used with air medium, surgery becomes difficult due to tiny explosions. 

The neodymium:yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd: YAG) laser is ideal for ostiomeatal and turbinate dysfunction surgery. However, the laser is difficult to use. Its well-defined thermal reaction leads to edema of the tissue. Handpiece quality of Nd: YAG, Ho: YAG and CO2 lasers are poor. Absorbing chromophobe, absorption length, power range and wavelength vary from laser to laser.

A potassium titanyl phosphate (KTP/532) laser has a flexible handpiece. Fibers of the laser facilitate access to the spaces and recesses of the sinuses. Since this efficient laser is easy to use, it is an ideal choice for the surgery of the vascular tissues, including paranasal sinus mucosa. The laser is also suitable for turbinate dysfunction. Precision, hemostasis, surgical access and handpiece quality of the laser are excellent.

Safety Precautions

The laser operator and the surgeon should be familiar with the laser. They should be well versed in instrumentation, fiber management, energy dosage and safety aspects of the laser. During surgery, communication between the operator and surgeon should be frequent and consistent to ensure the status (on/off) of the laser, exposure time and wattage. This communication will reduce chances of errors.

Information about the laser wavelength and eye protection for doctors should be mentioned on the door of the room where laser surgery is in progress. For patients’ safety, eye protection is necessary. Goggles are used if local anesthesia or monitored sedation is given. Moistened eye pads are used if general anesthesia is administered. An eye safety filter is placed between the camera and endoscope while aligning the laser with the endoscope before using within the sinuses.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10 Principles of Sinus Surgery

10 Principles of Sinus Surgery

Thorough understanding and correct implementation of the following principles of sinus surgery will enhance chances of success.

  1. Accurate diagnosis is the first step in a sinus surgery. Sinus pathology, imaging reports, endoscopic nasal studies and clinical history should be taken into account for the diagnosis prior to the surgery.

 

  1. Sinus surgery timing: The surgery should be recommended only if a traditional medical treatment fails. In fact, the medical treatment helps in reducing the problems and makes surgery easier.
  1. Appropriate planning enhances success rate of the surgery. However, unanticipated pathology may appear while surgery is being done.

 

  1. Integrated treatment of the sinus and nasal disorders in one-stage surgery is recommended.  It reduces cost and eliminates chances of second round of surgery. The nasal cavity’s structural abnormalities like concha bullosa and septal perforations and deviations should be corrected during same surgical process if possible.
  1. Combined management of sinus disorders: Patient should be informed about medical treatments required before and after surgery well in advance. Because even medical community does not understand some sinus diseases completely and in some cases, post surgery therapy is required to control symptoms and reduce chances of reappearance of the disease.

 

  1. What the surgery can do? Sinus surgery does not provide solution for all types of sinus disorders. For instance, the surgery is not useful for the inflammatory sinus problems due to various factors involved. The factors include environmental pollution, genetic characteristics, systematic disorders and allergies. The surgery can help in correcting structural abnormalities of the sinus and nose and removing infected tissues, restoring ventilation and drainage.
  1. Complete knowledge of paranasal and nose anatomy is necessary. Surgeons need lots of practice to identify anatomical variations in these areas, as the variations are large.

 

  1. Minimize bleeding and correct visualization are two basic principles of the surgery. Endoscope and microscope, the optical instruments used for the surgery, help in visualizing the area to be operated. Local vasoconstriction reduces bleeding. Remove infected tissues carefully from the sinuses to minimize the trauma. Normal mucosa should not be touched.
  1. Ventilation and drainage in the operated sinuses should be restored to normal levels because the surgery may affect and interrupt the airflow. If drainage and ventilation are not restored, patient may have other complications, some of which could be dangerous.

 

  1. Until the patient is fully recovered, regular follow-up after the sinus surgery is necessary. Thick mucus, blood clots and crusts should be removed during endoscopic examination.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Treatment for Sinus Pressure

Treatment for Sinus Pressure

Sinus Pressureis a result of sinus ailments, allergies, flu, colds and many other factors.

During these conditions, membranes of the sinuses and the nose may swell, and mucus may build up in the ostia, hindering airflow. The air traps within the sinus and dissolves into the mucosa of the sinus. The pressure of the air within the sinus, therefore, falls to levels lower than the pressure level outside. This is perceived as pressure in face. However, generally, these pressure changes cause only temporary discomfort. If germs grow in the mucus, resulting infection may aggravate sinus pressure. The pressure may also be accompanied by pain in the teeth, forehead, nose and eyes. The frontal sinus region may become tender.  Sinus pressure may cause headache due to under ventilated sinuses.




Treatment

To relive the pressure, mucus build up blocking the passages should be cleaned up. Several over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for sinus pressure are available in the market. Most of which consists of an antihistamine or a decongestant and acetaminophen or other painkillers. The OTCs play fourfold role: clear nasal passages, reduce nasal congestion, relieve symptoms of pressure, and minimize chances of complications.

Inhalers, nasal sprays and steam may relieve the pressure temporarily. Breathing the vapors or eucalyptus, menthol or other aromatic substances ease up the congestion within the sinuses and nasal passages. Sipping peppermint tea containing menthol may also help. Drink more fluids, but avoid caffeine-based beverages.

Constant change in air pressure of the cabin within airplane causes sinus pressure even in healthy travelers. This pressure increases in travelers suffering from sinus disorders. The dry air within the airplane also has a direct impact on the sinuses, especially on already infected ones. Doctors generally advise people suffering from sinus infection not to travel by air. However, if flying is unavoidable, take medicine before take-off to reduce the pressure.  Use saline nasal spray to moisten the nose during the flight.

If you do not have sinus infection but pressure is an issue while flying, chew a gum during take-off. Swallow water when the airplane levels out. After landing, try “valsalva maneuver” technique to relieve the pressure. However, follow the correct technique, otherwise it may damage eardrums or sinuses.

Use earplugs to minimize impact of pressure change while flying. The earplugs ensure that change in air pressure occur slowly. Use hot compresses while flying.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Should you undergo a sinusitis surgery?

Should you undergo a sinusitis surgery?

Although sinusitis surgery is useful, the surgery is not a panacea for all kinds of sinus diseases. The type and severity of the symptoms should be taken into account while weighing pros and cons of the surgery option. Here is a list of main symptoms that need surgery:

If sinusitis symptoms do not disappear after complete medical treatment, patients having nasal polyposis and rhinosinusitis should consider sinusitis surgery. In such cases, congestion and hyposmia symptoms may reappear even if topical treatment is continued.




If previous surgery on sinus did not work, a second thought is required before recommending another round of sinus surgery. Doctors must review surgical history of the patient in detail. If second round of surgery is required, doctor should ensure that sinus ostia are fully functional and residual disease signs do not occur. However, the patients who have already gone under the knife generally have slightly thick mucosal lining of the sinus even though sinus ostia are open. This thickening is visible in CT scan, but thickening does not always imply presence of sinus infection. Thus, before recommending second round of surgery, doctor should carefully review patient’s response to the treatment and history.

Nasal obstruction is the cardinal symptom for the surgery that ensures complete relief. However, if the nasal obstruction is not a primary symptom, reconsider the surgery decision. Do not operate patients complaining about nasal stuffiness if airflow is not poor.

Patients having pressure and / or pain in the head and / or in the face should be examined carefully to identify the cause of the pain before operation, because pain and pressure may not be attributed to sinusitis. Do not operate these patients, if nasal endoscopy is normal and nasal symptoms are insignificant. If patients having facial pain report purulent discharge during endoscopy, they may require surgery.  Surgery may also be useful if nasal obstruction, loss of smell sense or pain worsening during skiing, flying or cold season occurs.

If sense of smell improves after administering oral steroids and then worsens again, surgery may be beneficial. If systemic steroids are administered to a patient who has undergone a sinus surgery and is having anosmia, the patient may not regain smell sense. However, anosmia patient who was never operated and was not benefited by steroids either, ethmoidectomy may be helpful.

The patients may complain about postnasal drip- sensation of extra mucus flowing in the throat- and their inability to clear the throat. This may happen due to normal mucus’ hyperawareness. In such a condition, surgery is of no use.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How diseases, including sinusitis, affect senses of smell

How diseases, including sinusitis, affect senses of smell

The nerve tissue enabling sense of smell sits in the nasal cavity’s roof and near superior and middle turbinates. Even a small blockage in this area, therefore, affects the sense of smell. Complete loss of sense of smell is called anosmia. Partial loss of sense of smell is referred to as hyposmia.




If you loose smell sense, you may also loose sense of taste because taste and smell senses are linked. The food, thus, may taste bland. Alternatively, you may not be able to distinguish between spoiled and edible food. Complete loss of sense of taste is ageusia, whereas partial loss is known as hypogeusia.

Ability to smell and taste are essential, because these natural gifts let you enjoy pleasing aromas and yummy food. These abilities have another important role: warning against deadly substances like venomous goods, lethal gases and fires.

There are diseases and infections that may impair your sense of smell and / or sense of taste. For instance, sinusitis prevents air from entering into the nose parts where cribriform plate, featuring smell receptors, is located. Nasal tumors, nasal polyps and nasal septal deformities may block the airflow to the receptors. Thus, patients suffering from sinusitis may loose sense of smell.  When the nose is blocked, even your favorite food tastes dull and bland because you are unable to smell. This inability may affect your appetite as well and you may feel depressed. Allergic rhinitis may also lead to temporary loss of smell sense. However, temporary loss of smell due to sinus disorders can be treated with antibiotics, corticosteroids and other medicines, and surgery.

Aging also affects the smell abilities due to wear and tear of the nerves controlling smell and taste sensations. Other causes include smoking, structural deformities of the nose, infection of the upper respiratory system and deficiency of zinc and vitamin B12. Even some people are born without sense of smell; this condition is referred to as congenital anosmia.  

Structural deformities prevent the aromas from reaching the receptors where sense of smell originates. Irritation of the nasal mucosa obstructs and causes swelling of the sinuses and nasal passages, leading to complete or partial anosmia. Damaged olfactory neuroepithelium or partial damage to the olfactory nerve leads to anosmia.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sphenoid Sinusitis

Sphenoid Sinusitis

Development of the sphenoid sinus begins at the age of three years.  The sinus sits in the sphenoid bone. Capacity, size and shape of the sinus vary from person to person. The sphenoid sinus walls are located next to the cavernous sinuses, dura mater, optic canals and pituitary gland. The walls can be ultra thin. The infection and / or obstruction of the sinus is called sphenoid sinusitis, which is not common. However, sphenoid sinusitis is generally misdiagnosed. This infection-sinus may lead to sub acute or acute sphenoid sinusitis.




Acute sphenoid sinusitis is uncommon. Acute sphenoid sinusitis generally occurs with pansinusitis. Central, frontal, occipital or vertical headache is common during acute sphenoid sinusitis. The headache may increase while bending forward. Staphylococcus aureus is the common cause of the acute sphenoid sinusitis. Chronic sphenoid sinusitis leads to uneasiness in retro-orbital area or a headache.

The sphenoid sinus is prone to neoplastic, infectious, inflammatory or expansile processes. The neoplastic process means abnormal growth of a tissue or a tumor. Accumulation of pus in the sinus is pyocele, which is infectious. The inflammatory process is referred to as Wegener granulomatosis. The sphenoid sinus inflammation accompanied by mucormycosis increases severity of the sinusitis.

Diagnosis

Patients of solitary sphenoid sinusitis may not have nasal problems, diagnosing becomes difficult. Generally, this infection-sinus is diagnosed when complications begin.  CT scan is the most suitable method to diagnose sphenoid sinusitis.

Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Loss of vision
  • Purulent discharge
  • Sleep related problems
  • Progressive headache
  • Headaches in temporal region (bitemporal), back of the head (occipital) or eye-socket (retro-orbital) are characteristic to the isolated sphenoid sinusitis.
  • Headaches may become severe.
  • Headaches worsen with movement of the head and disturb sleep. Aspirin does not relieve these headaches.

 

Complications

If the infection-sinus is not diagnosed appropriately or treated properly, deadly complications may occur. Likely complications include orbital abscess, orbital cellulites, orbital edema, cerebral abscess, cavernous sinus thrombosis, meningitis, mucocele, pituitary insufficiency and superior sagittal sinus thrombosis. Although mucoceles are rare, they affect vision of the patient.

A mucocele is a kind of cyst containing mucus. Adhesions, tumors and polyps may obstruct drainage from the sinus system, resulting in formation of mucoceles. Continuous inflammation in sinus ostia for long time may also cause mucoceles. The mucoceles exert pressure on the walls of the sinus, eroding the surrounding bone and causing headaches.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How diseases, including sinusitis, affect senses of smell

How diseases, including sinusitis, affect senses of smell

The nerve tissue enabling sense of smell sits in the nasal cavity’s roof and near superior and middle turbinates. Even a small blockage in this area, therefore, affects the sense of smell. Complete loss of sense of smell is called anosmia. Partial loss of sense of smell is referred to as hyposmia.




If you loose smell sense, you may also loose sense of taste because taste and smell senses are linked. The food, thus, may taste bland. Alternatively, you may not be able to distinguish between spoiled and edible food. Complete loss of sense of taste is ageusia, whereas partial loss is known as hypogeusia.

Ability to smell and taste are essential, because these natural gifts let you enjoy pleasing aromas and yummy food. These abilities have another important role: warning against deadly substances like venomous goods, lethal gases and fires.

There are diseases and infections that may impair your sense of smell and / or sense of taste. For instance, sinusitis prevents air from entering into the nose parts where cribriform plate, featuring smell receptors, is located. Nasal tumors, nasal polyps and nasal septal deformities may block the airflow to the receptors. Thus, patients suffering from sinusitis may loose sense of smell.  When the nose is blocked, even your favorite food tastes dull and bland because you are unable to smell. This inability may affect your appetite as well and you may feel depressed. Allergic rhinitis may also lead to temporary loss of smell sense. However, temporary loss of smell due to sinus disorders can be treated with antibiotics, corticosteroids and other medicines, and surgery.

Aging also affects the smell abilities due to wear and tear of the nerves controlling smell and taste sensations. Other causes include smoking, structural deformities of the nose, infection of the upper respiratory system and deficiency of zinc and vitamin B12. Even some people are born without sense of smell; this condition is referred to as congenital anosmia.  

Structural deformities prevent the aromas from reaching the receptors where sense of smell originates. Irritation of the nasal mucosa obstructs and causes swelling of the sinuses and nasal passages, leading to complete or partial anosmia. Damaged olfactory neuroepithelium or partial damage to the olfactory nerve leads to anosmia.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sinus Infection-Induced Meningitis

Sinus Infection-Induced Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and the brain. These membranes are called meninges. Sinus infections are one of the main causes of deadly meningitis, but sinus infection-induced meningitis is rare. This type of meningitis may start with symptoms like change in behavior, fever, headache, loss of concentration and stiff neck. Other symptoms of meningitis include vomiting and nausea. The infections may travel to the brain because of the following reasons:

If the bone between the brain and the sinuses is fractured, the infection may spread into the brain and near by tissues, causing meningitis. Even a micro-fracture can initiate spread of the infection.




People who suffer from sinus infections frequently are prone to meningitis, because the same bacteria can cause the infections and meningitis. The ethmoid sinus’s roof is the brain’s floor and the frontal sinus is located in front of the brain. Thus, infection of these sinuses may affect the brain easily.

The sphenoid sinus is located next to the carotid artery, which supplies blood to the brain.

The veins draining deoxygenated blood from the brain open into the cavernous sinus, which sits at the rear of the sphenoid sinus. Proximity of the major arteries and veins to the sphenoid sinus increases chances of spreading the sinus infections to the brain. The sphenoid sinus infection may also cause thrombosis.

Since the nose veins do not feature valves, infections can spread upwards. The nose infection has chances to travel to the brain because blood vessels supplying to the brain and the nose are interconnected.

Treatment of Meningitis

Meningitis could be bacterial or viral. The treatment of the disease depends on organisms causing the meningitis symptoms. Bacterial meningitis is cured with antibiotics, including intravenous (IV) antibiotics, but the type of antibiotic depends on the bacteria responsible for the symptoms. Some times hospitalization is necessary. In some cases like brain swelling, intravenous fluids and other medications may be required. Patients of bacterial meningitis may require hospitalization. They should ensure that their blood pressure and breathing are normal. A breathing tube may help in improving patients’ breathing.

Some types of bacterial meningitis are communicable. The exchange of throat and respiratory secretions during sneezing, kissing and coughing can spread the bacteria.

Steroids may reduce disease’s severity. Corticosteroids help in releasing pressure within the brain due to meningitis. Medication is also prescribed to bring down the fever. Improvement in room ventilation, cooling pads and fluids reduces the fever. Consult your doctor and start the treatment during the early stage of the disease.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sinusitis in the Elderly

Sinusitis in the Elderly

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 14% of the Americans who are 65+ suffer from chronic sinuses’ symptoms. However, this percentage slightly decreases in Americans in 75 + age group. Since the symptoms affect sleep and create fatigue in aged population, timely treatment will ensure better quality of life.




Chronic Sinusitis in Old People

Patient having chronic sinuses’ symptoms complain about thick smelly drainage, facial pressure, nasal obstruction and headaches.  Redness in nasal region and pus drainage may occur. With computed tomography scan (CT scan), chronic conditions can be diagnosed.  

Geriatric Rhinitis

Aged people suffering from rhinitis may experience reduction in sense of taste and smell. They may complaint about facial pressure, nasal crusting, nasal stuffiness and persistent need for throat clearing.

Both function and physiology of the nose change with aging process. Length of nose increases. The nasal tip droops as the cartilage weakens. As a result, airflow in the nose reduces, especially in the area where lower and upper lateral cartilages join. Thus, the nasal valve area reduces, causing nasal obstruction. This condition is called geriatric rhinitis. The patients have a sense of nasal obstruction on lying down. Nasal crusts form in the winter. Facial pressure happens in patients on diuretics. Patients suffering from geriatric rhinitis will have dry nose causing irritation.

Treatment for geriatric rhinitis varies from individual to individual, as metabolism of the patient in old age may be slower and chances of side effects may be high due to interaction with medicines administered for other age old-specific problems. Sometimes surgery is also recommended to old patients.

Allergic Rhinitis in Old People

Some old people may have symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including soft pale nose bones, runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing. They should consult an otolaryngic allergist.

According to a research report, sinuses’ symptoms vary with age of the patient. Chances of nasal polyposis and dysosmia are high in elderly patients than in their younger counterparts. Like other body parts, the nose also ages.  Decline in submucosal glands with the age thickens mucus. Reduced blood flow in the nose may cause crusting and dryness in the sinuses and the nose. Antihistamines and decongestants prescribed to young sinusitis patients may not be effective for elderly. Surgery of the sinus and nose can be helpful. The elderly population is at greater risk because of weak immune system, poor gag and cough reflexes, dry nasal passages and weak cartilage of the passage.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Use of Antibiotics in Treating Symptoms-Sinus Infections

Use of Antibiotics in Treating Symptoms-Sinus Infections

Antibiotics, soluble substances extracted from bacteria or molds, inhibit microorganisms’ growth. There are two types of antibiotics: broad-spectrum and narrow-spectrum. Broad-spectrum antibiotics work against several bacteria, whereas narrow-spectrum antibiotics protect against very small number of bacteria. Antibiotics given to patients of sinusitis kill bacteria causing symptoms-sinus infections. The sinus infection is one of the most common disorders for which antibiotics are administered. However, various research studies proved that inappropriate use of antibiotics is common. Excessive use of antibiotics, in fact, has resulted in bacterial resistance to frequently prescribed antibiotics.




Antibiotics should mainly be used for patients highly prone to bacterial infections, as in most of the cases symptoms heal on their own within fortnight. Indeed, doctors wait until two weeks before initiating an antibiotic’s course. However, antibiotics are prescribed at the earliest if symptoms-sinus infections are severe. Antibiotics are administered to kids having nasal discharge accompanied with a cough persisting up to three weeks. If fever is over 39 degree Celsius and facial pain and headache occur, and areas around the eyes swell badly, antibiotics are required.

During acute sinus infection, antibiotics are generally not used, as the symptoms heal on their own. If antibiotics are administered, they may reduce period of sickness slightly. The type and dosage of antibiotic depends on general health condition of the patient and severity of symptoms. Amoxicillin, Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole antibiotics are administered to patients suffering from acute bacterial sinusitis. Consult doctor before starting a course of antibiotics.

Macrolide, cephalosporin and amoxicillin-clavulanate antibiotics are prescribed in complicated cases of sinus infection. Doctors may use different types of antibiotics, such as levofloxacin, clarithromycin, cefpodoxime, cefuroxime, azithromycin and amoxicillin-clavulanate, if patients’ condition does not improve even after twenty-eight days of medication. If oral antibiotics were not helpful, intravenous antibiotics may be recommended.

However, antibiotics have side effects that should be taken into account while prescribing the antibiotics. Side effects may vary from antibiotic to antibiotic. Some of the common side effects include:

  • Sulfa, penicillin and other antibiotics may create allergy, such as skin rashes.
  • Some drugs if taken with antibiotics may cause allergy. So, check with doctor about right combination of medication.
  • They may increase risk of vaginal infection in female patients.
  • They create gastrointestinal problems.
  • A bad taste
  • Diarrhea may continue for a long period.
Some antibiotics like levofloxacin may damage or rupture tendons

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Types of Fungal Sinusitis

Types of Fungal Sinusitis

Although fungi are not a common cause of sinus infection, incidences of fungal disorder are increasing.  Up to 10% patients suffering from rhino sinusitis may have fungal sinus infection.  Fungal sinusitis is common in patients suffering from disorders that weaken the immune system, such as AIDS, diabetes and leukemia. The sinusitis is also referred to as eosinophilic mucinous rhinosinusitis (EMRS) or eosinophilic fungal rhinosinusitis (EFRS). Fungal sinusitis is divided into three categories: allergic fungal sinusitis, fungus ball, and acute and indolent / chronic invasive fungal sinusitis.




Allergic Fungal Sinusitis

Allergic fungal sinusitis is the most common fungal infection. It is an allergic reaction to fungus belonging to the Dematiaceous family. The fungi may grow in the sinus, blocking nasal passage and eroding the bones. Thick drainage and nasal polyps may occur, hindering the airflow to the sinus. Sinus surgery is necessary to remove the nasal polyps. Since allergens are involved, allergic fungal sinusitis may reoccur. In several cases, thus, patients may have to take medication regularly throughout life and undergo surgery.

Fungus Ball / Mycetoma

A fungus ball generally develops in one sinus, especially the maxillary sinus. However, it is treatable and does not penetrate into the sinus mucosa.  The CT scan of the sinuses, head or teeth may show opacification. Some patients may complain about facial fullness, nasal obstruction and / or rhinorrhea while others may not have any symptoms. Aspergillus that cause mold in the bread triggers mycetoma. Endoscopic sinus surgery, a minimally invasive surgery with high success rate, is required to remove the ball.  Recurrence of the ball is a rare phenomenon.

Acute & Indolent / Chronic Invasive Fungal Sinusitis

Acute invasive fungal sinusitis expands quickly into the sinus bones and tissues whereas chronic invasive fungal sinusitis grows slowly.  Patients with weak immune system and suffering from severe diabetes are at high risk to get acute invasive fungal sinusitis. Chronic invasive fungal sinusitis generally occurs in atopic and immunocompetent hosts. The granulomatous chronic infection in indolent condition expands beyond the walls of the sinus. A biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis of chronic condition. Indolent fungal sinusitis is common in parts of India and Sudan. The fungal infection is associated with fungi common in the environment: Aspergillus, Mucor and Rhizopus. Both acute and indolent invasive forms of fungal sinusitis require immediate attention. A combination of anti-fungal medications and sinus surgery will heal the symptoms.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Treatment for Sinus Pain

Treatment for Sinus Pain

Pain in the sinuses could cause distraction and huge discomfort, so do not ignore it. Choose an appropriate treatment to recover fast. Here is a glimpse of possible treatments.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Several over-the-counter (OTC) medications are available to treat pain-sinus. Generally, OTCs are a combination of a decongestant and painkiller or an antihistamine and a painkiller. OTCs, sold in different forms, are administered to relieve the pain, minimize chances of complications, reduce nasal congestion and clear up the nasal passages. Take medicines that kill bacteria causing pain-sinus.




Homeopathy

Homeopathy also offers safe options to alleviate pain-sinus. Burning and throbbing pain in the sinus can be treated with arsenicum album. The pain that extends to the teeth can be healed with mercurius. However, consult a qualified homeopathy doctor before administering these medicines.

Relaxation

In some cases, different relaxation techniques may reduce the pain. For instance, meditation, hypnotherapy, yoga, deep breathing and guided imagery methods will help in relaxing.

Humidity

Dry mucus in the sinus passages and the nose create crusts, hindering the drainage and causing congestion, which is a source of pain. Moisten your nose by increasing humidity. Steamy showers, hot liquids, humidifiers and avoiding dry and cold air will help in retaining moisture and increasing humidity.

CranioSacral Therapy

Basic concept of the therapy is that an experienced therapist can identify patterns within the body with a light touch and release and relax the tissues. This non-invasive therapy can be used to relax tissues around the nasal and facial bones, relieving the associated pain.

Surgery

Surgery may be the option if pain is due to structural deformities and growth of polyps that block the nasal passages.

Other Therapies

Nasal irrigation with homemade or OTC saline opens up your nasal passages, relieving the pain.

Use cold and hot compresses alternatively to dissolve the crusts, reducing pain.

 In some cases, spicy foods help in opening the blocked passages.

Continuous humming may also relieve the pain in some cases, as it improves airflow to the sinuses.

Aromatherapy with eucalyptus or peppermint may help in reducing the pain.

Last but not least, avoid all those agents that cause the pain. The agents, for instance, include bacteria, viruses and allergens.

When to Seek Medical Help

 If the pain is accompanied by a feeling of sickness, confused behavior, high fever and swelling or redness of the forehead, cheeks or area around the eyes, consult your doctor.

If pain persists even after using painkillers and nasal wash for a day, visit doctor.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What Causes Nasal Polyps

What Causes Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps, an abnormal growth of tissues within the sinuses and the nasal passages, can be of pink, grey or yellow color. The fully-grown nasal polyps resemble to grapes on the stem, but the size of the teardrop polyps may vary. Big-size polyps may plug up the nasal passages and cause runny nose or stuffy nose and loss of both taste and smell. The nasal blockage may cause difficulty in breathing. Small-size polyps are neither detected and nor cause any visible symptoms.  The polyps are more common in men than in their female counterparts. The polyps generally appear in 40+ people. The polyps are soft. The polyps do not disappear unless treated. The nasal polyps growing within sinus areas may trigger symptoms of sinus infection.  However, the polyps are benign. They do not increase chances of nasal cancer.




What exactly causes the polyp formation is still a mystery. They may be an outcome of constant swelling and redness of the mucus membrane – the nasal passageways’ lining. However, cause of inflammation is not known yet. A number of factors may increase chances of nasal polyp formation. Some of the factors follow:

  • Aspirin intolerance, which means aspirin may lead to persistent coughing, itchy skin and other allergy related symptoms, and painkiller intolerance.

 

  • Cystic fibrosis may cause polyps. During cystic fibrosis, a sticky fluid clogs up digestive system and lungs.
  • Polyps may develop in the patients suffering from allergic rhinitis that is ascribed to allergy to animal fur and dust mites.

 

  • Asthma may promote polyp formation.
  • Churg-Strauss syndrome, blood vessels’ inflammation, may also encourage growth of polyps.

 

  • Inflammation of the mucus membrane set the stage for a fluid build up within the membrane cells. Gravity pulls down the cells filled with the fluid over a period of time, causing polyp formation. Inflammation may be attributed to various factors, including bacterial, fungal or viral infection, exposure to pollutants, genes, disorders of nervous system and weak immune system. One of these factors or combination of these factors may trigger inflammation.
  • During some studies, it is found out that people with polyps have different types of chemical markers in the mucous membrane.

 

  • In many cases, people with polyps may not have any other associated symptoms. Treatment is not required in such cases. But, their size can be reduced by medication. The polyps can be eliminated by medication and / or surgery.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Symptoms of Nasal Drip

Nasal drip, the large quantity of mucus dripping in the back of the throat from the nose, is also referred to as postnasal drip. Peculiar signs associated with the drip are listed below:

  • The most common sign of the drip is an annoying feeling and a need to clear the throat constantly. The mucus collected in the throat area may also make your voice hoarse.

 

  • A cough may occur, because the dripping liquid in the throat may contain inflammatory particles causing irritation. The cough may aggravate at night. The mucus may be of light brown, green or yellow color.



  • The drip is the main cause of chronic cough.

 

  • A sore throat may happen, but it does not become an illness. Since the drip hinders functioning of the cilia, crust of mucus may form on the lining of the throat and the nose, causing irritation and inflammation. This condition is referred to as sore throat in medical terminology.  Itchiness and burning sensation in the throat may develop.
  • Swallowing constantly

 

  • The throat tissues and the tonsils may swell, causing a feeling of a lump in the throat. White patches or pus may cover the throat or tonsils. Tonsil stones may develop. In patients already having the stones, size of the stones may increase.
  • When excessive mucus clogs the Eustachian tube, connecting the middle ear to the back of the nose, ear infection may develop. If the mucus plugs up the sinus pathways, sinus infection develops.

 

  • If you have difficulty in swallowing and breathing, seek medical advice.
  • Extreme symptoms like sudden swelling of the throat or the tongue, sinus headache, pain in the upper throat need immediate attention.
  • Intermittent plugging of nostrils may happen.
  • Bad breath may occur with the drip.
  • The dripping mucus cause unpleasant taste.
  • The nasal dripmay be accompanied by the signs of another condition. For instance, the drip associated with allergies may result in itchiness of the eyes and the nose, headaches and teary eyes. In case of asthma, breathing will become more difficult.
  • Lymph nodes in the throat may enlarge.
  • Body aches and fatigue interfere with day-to-day chores.
  • Chills, fever and heartburn may occur.
  • The drip may cause nasal congestion in people who breathe from the mouth or are unable to breathe from the nose.

 

  • Pain in stomach, dizziness, nausea and vomiting may occur.
  • Other symptoms include tension in face, runny nose and a desire to spit repeatedly.