Friday, June 8, 2012

Frequently asked questions about rhinosinusitis

Is rhinosinusitis very common?
Yes. It seems that 30% of adults have one episode of rhinosinusitis a year and 3 out of every 8 colds leads to rhinosinusitis in adults.
In Europe, it is estimated that 10.9% of adults “always” suffer from rhinosinusitis. This is what is called Chronic Rhinosinusitis.

How long can it last?
A case of Acute Rhinosinusitis can last up to 12 weeks. After 12 weeks it is considered Chronic Rhinosinusitis.

How is rhinosinusitis treated?
The most important thing to do is to eliminate the mucous. To do this, the mucous must be made more “liquid”. We can achieve this using synergistic treatments: a) increasing the amount of water we drink, b) taking mucolytics that break up the mucous and c) applying a solution, such as cyclamen extract, to the nose that is capable of “drawing out” the mucous.
Antibiotics do not normally need to be taken, since bacterial infection is not frequent.

Is it a hereditary disease?
Indirectly it is, because the shape of the nasal fossae and the passages that connect them are inherited. Some morphologies of the nasal fossae and sinuses make an individual more likely to have rhinosinusitis.

How do I know whether I have rhinosinusitis? It is highly likely that you are suffering from rhinosinusitis if you feel congested and your nose and forehead are full of mucous which is difficult to blow out. As this mucous accumulates, there is a growing feeling of pressure.

Are rhinosinusitis, rhinitis and sinusitis the same?
They are not the same, although in practice it is very hard to tell the difference between them.
They all stem from an inflammation of the nasal mucosa. When this inflammation only affects the nostrils it is rhinitis. If there is also inflammation in the paranasal and frontal fossae, where the mucous accumulates and becomes purulent, then it is sinusitis. The full inflammation of all the nasal and paranasal mucosa is rhinosinusitis.
As a patient it is difficult to understand which one you may have. Only a doctor using specific diagnostic methods can determine the extent of the inflammation.

What can give me rhinosinusitis?
Most cases of rhinosinusitis are caused by unspecified infections such as a common cold or catarrh. 
Another significant cause are allergies, whether they are seasonal, such as those provoked by pollen, or constant such as those triggered by dust mites or animal hair.

What about children?
One in three colds or cases of catarrh in children becomes rhinosinusitis. This incidence is greater than adults, but less frequently becomes chronic in children.

Is having rhinosinusitis all that bad?
Only if cases repeat frequently and it becomes chronic. The risk of bacterial infection of the mucosa is very low. It only occurs in 1% of all cases.

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