How Your Allergies Can Cause a Sinus Infection.
If you’ve ever had a sinus infection, you know the pain and discomfort it can cause. Medically termed sinusitis, a sinus infection occurs when the cavities around your nose become swollen and inflamed.
Sinusitis is most often caused by a virus and often lasts long after the other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. Rarely, fungus or bacteria may cause a sinus infection. Allergies, nasal polyps, a tooth infection, and a deviated septum are other ways in which sinusitis may be triggered.
Sinusitis is acute if it lasts for a short period of time. The acute infection is usually part of a cold or allergies. If your sinus infection lasts for more than eight weeks, or continues to reoccur, you have a chronic infection. Many symptoms of a sinus infection are common to both the acute and the chronic forms. The best way to know for sure if you have an infection, to find the cause, and to get treatment, is to see your doctor.
An infection of the sinus cavity close to the brain can be life threatening, if not treated. In rare cases, it can spread to the brain.
Normal sinuses are lined with a thin layer of mucus that traps dust, germs and other particles in the air. Tiny hair-like projections in the sinuses sweep the mucus (and whatever is trapped in it) towards openings that lead to the back of the throat. From there, it slides down to the stomach. This continual process is a normal body function.
Sinus disease stops the normal flow of mucus from the sinuses to the back of the throat. The tiny hair-like “sweepers” become blocked when infections or allergies cause tiny nasal tissues to swell. The swelling traps mucus in the sinuses.
Allergies can play an important role in chronic (long-lasting) or seasonal rhinitis episodes. Nasal and sinus passages become swollen, congested, and inflamed in an attempt to flush out offending inhaled particles that trigger allergies. Pollen are seasonal allergens. Molds, dust mites and pet dander can cause symptoms year-round.
Treatments for Sinusitis
Antibiotics are recommended treatment for bacterial sinusitis. Antibiotics are usually for 1 to 2 weeks depending on the type of drug. Because the sinuses are deep-seated in the bones, and blood supply is limited, longer treatments may be prescribed for people with longer lasting or severe cases.
Overuse and abuse of antibiotics have been causing a major increase in antibiotic resistance. Healthcare professionals are careful to prescribe antibiotics when symptoms are consistent with a bacterial infection (e.g. fever, thick nasal discharge, facial pain).
Antibiotics help eliminate sinus disease by attacking the bacteria that cause it. Commonly, these drugs may take several days to take effect and do little to alleviate symptoms. Often, over-the-counter medications are recommended in conjunction with antibiotics to provide additional relief.