The sinuses are tiny bags of air positioned at the back of a person’s forehead, eyes, cheekbones, and nose. Sinus infections are relatively harmless if detected and treated in time. This paper is a patient education material on sinus infections, their symptoms and treatment as well as the risk posed by not treating sinus infections in time.
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Forms of Sinus Infections
Acute sinusitis is the form of sinus infection caused by a virus and lasts approximately one or two weeks (Brook, 2007). A sub-acute sinusitis is caused by bacteria or seasonal allergies and can persist for around three months. Chronic sinusitis persists for over three months and is often caused by incessant allergies or problems with the structure of the nose.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
The indications of a sinus infection look like the symptoms of common colds (Thaler & Kennedy, 2009). These signs include nasal discharge, headache, fever, persistent cough, congestion of the nasal cavity, fatigue, foul breath, and facial pain. Frontal sinusitis produces pain in the forehead can result in osteomyelitis if left untreated. The pain in the cheekbone and upper teeth is due to maximal sinusitis.
Treatment for Sinus Infections
The headache and pain on the forehead and upper teeth can be remedied by taking pain relieving drugs such as ibuprofen. If the symptoms persist for more than one week, a healthcare provider can prescribe antibiotics since the infection probably is bacterial. A patient with facial pain probably has bacterial sinusitis and should take antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor. The patient must finish the dosage to prevent re-infection and is advised to visit the doctor for an extra check-up.
The Danger of Untreated Sinusitis
If undiagnosed or untreated for a protracted period, sinusitis can cause other serious problems such as abscesses (puss) in the nasal cavity and meningitis (Josephson, 2006). It can also result in orbital cellulitis, an illness of the aural that causes intense discomfort in the ear and can lead to swelling of the brain. This condition can also damage one’s auditory ability.
The symptoms of sinusitis are often confused with the common cold and may not be diagnosed easily. If left untreated, sinusitis can lead to life-threatening complications, some of which may require surgery.
Brook, I. (2007). Acute and chronic bacterial sinusitis. Infect Dis Clin North Am, 21(2):427-448.
Josephson, J. (2006). Sinus relief now: The groundbreaking 5-step program for sinus, allergy, and asthma sufferers. USA: Penguin.
Thaler, E., & Kennedy, D. (2009). Rhinosinusitis: A guide for diagnosis and management. New York: Springer.