Chronic sinusitis brings ongoing misery to millions of Americans. This inflammation of the sinuses can be caused by a variety of factors, with allergies being one of the most common. Pollen, dust, and other irritants can invade the airway passages, causing the tissue lining to swell and producing cold-like symptoms.
Allergic Sinusitis Symptoms
Allergic sinusitis is a condition triggered by outdoor or indoor allergens. It may be caused by hay fever or a number of other allergens such as mold, dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke. When you breathe in an allergic substance, your immune system responds by producing chemicals called histamines that are released into the bloodstream in order to fend off the invaders. These cause swelling of the tissues lining the sinuses, trapping fluids and other germs and leading to a variety of symptoms including a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing, headaches, fever, sinus pain and pressure, nasal discharge, and bad breath. When the condition persists longer than twelve weeks or reoccurs frequently, it is considered chronic.
Diagnosis & Treatment
In order to diagnose allergic sinusitis, you’ll be given a physical exam and your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms. An allergy skin or blood test will be given in order to confirm the diagnosis and identify the allergen trigger responsible for your symptoms.
Treatment options include medications (antihistamines, nasal sprays, etc.) and other home remedies. A warm, moist washcloth pressed to the face can act as a compress, bringing relief from swelling and discomfort. Drink plenty of liquids, and use a humidifier or vaporizer to add moisture to the air. Immunotherapy, in the form of allergy shots or drops, may be recommended for patients whose sinusitis does not respond to medical treatment.