Common sinus problems experienced by thousands of people each year include sinus infections and various types of sinusitis, such as acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis and recurrent sinusitis. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining of the sinuses behind the cheekbones and forehead caused by a virus or bacterial infection. Symptoms can include a blocked or runny nose, face pain, fever, and extremely painful sinus headaches, often inflamed further by hayfever, allergies, nasal polyps and cystic fibrosis.
When it comes to acute sinusitis, you may experience a sudden onset of cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose and facial pain that usually lasts about a week. Chronic sinusitis, on the other hand, is a condition characterised by sinus inflammation symptoms lasting more than 12 weeks, while recurrent sinusitis is several attacks within a year. It is also important to remember that people with certain conditions have a higher risk of sinusitis, such as those with a blockage of their drainage ducts, or people with immune deficiencies.
In most cases, a doctor will carry out a physical examination and review your symptoms, should you believe you are experiencing a sinus infection or sinusitis. Examinations often include the doctor feeling and pressing your sinuses for tenderness, and tapping your teeth to check for an inflamed paranasal sinus. You may also have to have X-rays, allergy tests, a CT scan of the sinuses, blood tests, or a nasal endoscopy, in order to allow the doctor to determine what is causing your sinus pain, and what the best treatment for you may be.
If you believe you have symptoms of a form of sinusitis, it is advisable that you seek medical advice. A doctor may recommend treatment with over the counter decongestants and painkillers, or suggest that you use a vaporiser or inhale hot steam from a pan of boiling water to help relieve the pain. Similarly, saline nose drops and over-the-counter decongestant nasal drops or sprays may be effective in controlling symptoms. If the sinus infection is found to be caused by bacteria your consultant may prescribe antibiotics, and in extreme cases surgery may be required to open the sinus.
It is essential to remember that putting off treatment or examination of a sinus problem will only cause you prolonged and unnecessary pain and discomfort. Furthermore, in very rare cases untreated sinusitis can lead to infection of the bone, brain abscess, and even meningitis. Don’t let sinus problems ruin your trip abroad, nor make you seriously ill. You can rely on TripMedic while you are abroad to arrange a consultation for you with a medical practitioner in your language.