– Allergies and sinusitis are very common respiratory disorders. In fact, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, allergies are among the most common diseases in the United States. It is estimated that at least one out of every five of us have allergies. And if you were unlucky enough to be the child of parents who both have allergies, you have a 70% chance of being allergic. Airborne allergies that are a reaction to pollen are known as hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Sinusitis, sometimes called rhinosinusitis, is an infection of the membranes lining the sinuses and nasal passages. The paranasal sinuses are a connected network of hollow cavities in your skull. The largest sinuses are the maxillary sinuses flanking the nose above your cheeks. The other sinuses include: the frontal sinuses, located above the eyes in the middle of your forehead; the sphenoid sinuses, located behind the nose; and the ethmoid sinuses, located on either side of your nasal bridge between your eyes. READ MORE ABOUT ALLERGY AND SINUS »
Acute sinusitis presents with a sudden onset of a stuffy nose, feeling of fullness in your face, and tenderness or pain over the sinuses. Usually one also has thick nasal drainage, which can be white, yellow, or green, and often drains to the back of the throat (post-nasal drip). Sufferers with sinusitis may also experience pain or fullness in their ears, jaws, teeth, and throat, as well as coughing, fatigue, and bad breath. Acute sinusitis usually lasts 1 -2 weeks, but typically resolves in less than a month. If the sinus inflammation lasts more than 8 weeks, it is known as chronic sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis may be due to infection with bacteria or viruses. Both cause the mucosal swelling and the production of a large amount of watery or thick nasal drainage. While viral sinusitis symptoms include either no fever or a low-grade fever, acute bacterial sinusitis includes a high fever (>102°F). Individuals with acute bacterial sinusitis are typically treated with antibiotics so it is important to be seen by a physician. Treatment for both viral and bacterial sinusitis usually involves analgesics, nasal saline irrigation prepared with sterile or bottled water, avoidance of smoke, and rest. Chronic sinusitis extends the symptoms of acute sinusitis, but usually without the fever.
Approximately 37 million people suffer with a sinus infection every year, as compared to 60 million allergy sufferers, caused by any number of irritants. Allergies simply represent your own body’s immune response to an otherwise essentially innocuous trigger, such as tree pollen or dust or dog dander. The onset of allergies can occur in childhood or as an adult.
Allergies come in a wide variety of types and degrees. At their worst, they can be life threatening when they induce the condition of shock called anaphylaxis. The most well-known kind of allergy is hay fever or allergic rhinitis, induced by pollen or other airborne allergens. Someone burdened with allergic rhinitis typically has an irritated, runny nose, conjunctivitis, and congestion, along with coughing, sneezing, a scratchy throat, and itchy eyes.
There is also a rare, but very serious complication from sinusitis called orbital cellulitis, which has the following symptoms: swelling around the eyes, with persistent headache and vomiting. Sometimes there is also an altered level of consciousness, stiff neck or changes in mental status. If you or someone you know has these symptoms, along with those of sinusitis, it is critical to go to an emergency room.
Talk to a qualified healthcare professional if you notice symptoms of a sinus infection or an allergy, so you can obtain an exact diagnosis and learn about your treatment options. It is especially important to speak with a physician if you have a fever and other symptoms of acute bacterial sinusitis, since you may need antibiotics.
A physician should also definitely be consulted before beginning a course of any herbal supplement to discuss possible interactions with other prescription medications, side effects or possible safety issues, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
There is also a large selection of over-the-counter medications available here at drugstore.com for dealing with sinus and allergy issues. There are some supplements that claim to help with the symptoms of sinusitis or allergies, but it is important to know that these lack adequate research studies. Spend some time here at drugstore.com to find the remedies right for you. BACK TO TOP »
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