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Acute Sinusitis
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Acute sinusitis

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Acute sinusitis is an infection of one or more sinuses. Several factors contribute to sinus infections, including blockage of sinus.

One half to two thirds of patients with sinus symptoms who visit primary care physicians are unlikely to have bacterial sinusitis. Certain diagnostic tools may be useful to the family physician to differentiate a common cold from bacterial sinusitis. Determination of the organism causing acute sinusitis requires puncture, aspiration and culture, but that procedure is rarely appropriate in the family physician's office. Another tool is four-view sinus radiographic studies. Also gaining popularity is endoscopic evaluation of the nasopharynx to identify anatomic abnormalities, determine the presence of purulence around the osteomeatal complex, and evaluate swelling and inflammation. However, most clinicians now agree that the most appropriate diagnostic approach is a good history and a thorough physical examination.

You've developed a cold that has lasted longer than a week. You're having trouble breathing through your nose. When you lean forward, you feel throbbing pain in your face. You may not have a simple cold anymore. Instead, you might have developed sinusitis, an infection of the sinus cavities.

Sinuses are air-filled, hollow spaces or cavities within the facial bones around your nose. When their linings become infected, usually due to viruses or bacteria, they may swell, causing an obstruction and interfering with normal drainage of mucus. Sinusitis can cause considerable discomfort and can lead to more serious infections if left untreated.

Although sinusitis can become a chronic condition, most cases are short-lived (acute) and respond to treatment in about 2 weeks.

Alternative names   

Acute sinusitis; Sinus infection; Sinusitis - acute

Definition   

Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the sinuses. This is generally caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection.

The sinuses are air-filled spaces around the forehead, cheeks, and eyes that are lined with mucous membranes. Healthy sinuses are sterile (meaning that they contain no bacteria or other organisms) and open, allowing mucus to drain and air to circulate.

When inflamed, the sinuses become blocked with mucus and can become infected. Each year, over 30 million adults and children get sinusitis.

Sinusitis can be acute (lasting anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks) or chronic, with symptoms lingering much longer.

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