Fast Facts: Sinusitis
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal sinuses, which are hollow cavities within the cheek bones found around and behind the nose. The inflammation is usually caused by inadequate draining due to allergy, infection or obstruction. Common symptoms include thick yellowish/green nasal discharge, headache, feelings of facial fullness, congestion, fatigue, and fever.
In the 1993 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), sinusitis was the most frequently reported chronic disease, affecting 14.7 percent of the population, accounting for the fifth highest antibiotic use of all diseases, and 11.6 million physician visits per year.
Causes of Sinusitis
There are two types of sinusitis. The first is acute sinusitis, which is caused by bacterial infection in most cases, and usually occurs as a late complication of a common cold. When this happens, nasal congestion produces swelling in the sinus cavity, obstructing drainage and causing mucus to stagnate, providing a perfect breeding ground for an infection. Although colds are the most common cause of acute sinusitis, those with allergies may also be predisposed to the development of sinusitis. Allergy can cause chronic inflammation of the sinus and nasal mucous linings. If you test positive for allergies, your physician can prescribe appropriate medications to control them, thereby reducing the risk of developing an infection.