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Sinus Infections

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A Guide to Sinus Infections

Catching a cold is unfortunately something that affects both adults and children, often more than once a year.

While the symptoms are usually very easily dealt with by taking painkillers that can be purchased in any supermarket or pharmacy, some people find it takes longer than usual for their illness to clear up.

The common cold is more often than not caused by a virus that infects the nose and throat, causing nasal congestion, a runny nose, headache and fatigue – a cough and mild fever may also be experienced by some people.

Symptoms of the illness usually build, peak and then slowly disappear, but can cause swelling in the sinuses – which prevents mucus from flowing out and can result in an infection.

Those individuals who have sinus pain – which is usually detectable around the face and eyes – as well as a thick yellow or green mucus after one-week should contact their doctor to determine the problem.

What is a sinus infection?

This type of ailment is the inflammation or swelling of the sinuses. Usually, this part of the nose is filled with air, but when it becomes constricted and filled with fluid an infection can develop due to a build-up of bacteria.

What are the symptoms?

There are a number of telltale signs of a sinus infection, including:

  • Pressure or pain around the face and eyes
  • Thick, yellow nasal discharge
  • Headache
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Congestion
  • A worsening cold
  • A fever

These symptoms may also be experienced with a cold, so it is important for patients to monitor how long they last for and take action if they have not gone after ten days.

How is this problem caused?

All conditions that block of the drainage of the sinus challenge can cause an infection – including colds, allergies, nasal polyps and non-allergic rhinitis.

The problem can also develop as a result of anatomic problems such as a deviated septum, which refers to a shift in the nasal cavity. If this is left untreated, the ailment can last for several weeks.

How is it treated?

Those people who fear they may have a sinus infection will undergo a physical exam and medical history evaluation. In some cases, they will also be subject to X-rays or a CT scan of the affected area – particularly if they do not respond to initial treatment.

Initially, sinusitis is treated with medication, while antibiotics are usually utilised if symptoms persist for more than ten days. Decongestants and other tablets also help limit the swelling in the sinuses and nasal passages.

Hot showers and steam are often recommended to loosen mucus in the nose, with many medical experts suggesting a nasal saline to wash the mucus out of the nose.

In more severe cases where the problem becomes chronic, long-term antibiotics or surgery may be required to establish the adequate drainage.

When should I contact a specialist?

While the majority of common clothes go away without medical treatment, those people who experience pain around their face and eyes – along with thick nasal discharge – should seek medical attention.

In addition, they should contact a health care provider if fever symptoms do not cease after taking over-the-counter options.

Can it affect my oral health?

Sinus infections often cause discomfort in the upper teeth, which can result in some people thinking they have a dental problem. However, those suffering from sinusitis are likely to experience pain in more than one tooth on the same side of the mouth.

It is not uncommon for individuals who are seeking treatment for the problem to experience a dry mouth – something that is more likely to cause tooth decay and yeast infections.

While there are no special considerations provided for people with a sinus infection, patients should ensure they inform their dentist about any medication they have taken.

Those individuals with chronic sinusitis may have taken antibiotics for a long period of time, but should make sure their dental specialist is aware what type they are.

Pearl Dental Clinic is open 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm. You can book an appointment by calling us on 0208 547 9997 or emailing us or booking an appointment online

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