You may be at an increased risk of sinusitis if you are regularly exposed to pollutants like cigarette smoke. Certain health conditions can also increase your risk:
• Allergies – hay fever and other types of allergies can cause inflammation that will block the sinuses and prevent proper drainage.
• Nasal polyps or tumors – tissue growths can block the nasal passages or sinuses.
• Deviated nasal septum – the wall between the nostrils is called the nasal septum. If this wall is crooked it can restrict or block the sinus passages.
• Tooth infection – in rare cases, acute sinusitis can be caused by an infected tooth.
• Enlarged or infected adenoids in children – the adenoids are groups of lymph tissue located on either side of the back part of the throat. Infections in the adenoids are more common in children.
• Other medical conditions – Complications from other conditions, including cystic fibrosis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or immune system disorders may cause blocked sinuses or an increased risk of infection.
In chronic sinusitis, the membranes lining the sinus cavities and inside of the nose become thickened because they are constantly inflamed. This causes repeated or ongoing sinusitis that can last for months or years. This condition is more common in people with asthma, most of whom also have allergies. However, at least half of chronic sinusitis sufferers do not have allergies. While the causes of chronic sinusitis are mostly unknown, most health experts agree that chronic sinusitis is not an infectious disease, which means people with chronic sinusitis cannot pass it to other people as if it was a cold.
Treatment for acute sinusitis includes:
• Antibiotics – only helpful if the cause is a bacterial infection
• Pain relievers – to reduce the aching in the face caused by pressure in the sinuses
• Decongestants – to reduce the buildup of pressure and congestion in the sinuses
• Allergy treatments –nasal steroid sprays can reduce allergic swelling in the nasal passages and allow the sinuses to drain