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Sinusitis is one of the common inflammatory conditions, usually with an infectious cause. It is particularly common in the winter and affects approximately one third of the entire population.

What is acute sinusitis?

Acute sinusitis is acute or short-lasting form of sinus infection or sinusitis, as opposed to prolonged sinusitis that lasts for weeks, months or years, called chronic sinusitis.

Sinusitis is an inflammation or an infection of sinuses, cavities around nasal passages located underneath the eyes, around the nose and in the forehead. Sinuses can become inflamed for a number of reasons, the most common ones being viral infections such as flu, bacterial infections, irritation and allergies.

When the lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed, it swells and impedes the mucus from draining normally, through the nose. The mucus collects in the sinuses, becoming a favorable breeding ground for bacteria that may cause a secondary infection. Swelling of the mucous membrane of the sinuses causes unpleasant and frustrating symptoms like feeling of fullness and pressure in the face, pain, especially if the head is tilted towards the chest, tenderness when touched, nasal discharge and sometimes fever and fatigue. Ear pain, sore throat, headache and bad breath may also be present.

Sometimes acute sinusitis resolves on its own but more often it requires some form of treatment.

How to cure acute sinusitis?

First of all it is necessary to determine the exact cause of sinusitis. For this reason it is best to see a doctor instead of trying to cure the infection at home or waiting for it to go away on its own. If the cause of acute sinusitis is bacterial, or if bacterial infection developed as secondary to viral or allergic sinusitis, it will be necessary to take a course of antibiotics, usually oral ones. It is very important to follow through the entire course of antibiotics the doctor prescribed, even if the symptoms subside soon after the treatment has started. That way the chance of recurring infection will be minimal.

Fungal sinusitis is not common but it is potentially more dangerous than other forms of this infection. It is usually treated with antimicotics, but sometimes a surgery may be necessary.

Viral sinusitis cannot be cured with specific drugs but the recovery can be sped up by increasing the immune response, making sure the indoor air is humid enough, inhaling vapors, drinking plenty of fluids, using decongestants and nasal lavage, drinking warm tea, applying warm compresses and using other self-care measures.

If acute sinusitis does not go away soon or if it comes back several times a week, it may be necessary to see a specialist. In some cases sinusitis can only be solved through surgery.

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