Chronic sinusitis is an aggravating disease that affects myself, my family, and my friends. According to PubMed Health, “sinusitis” indicates the presence of inflammation in one of four pairs of nasal cavities: maxillary, frontal, sphenoid and ethmoid; it is caused by fungal invasion, bacterial infection, immune response, or other biologic and environmental factors. After years of unsuccessful treatment by internists, it is my opinion that all patients with chronic sinusitis should see an Otolaryngologist (ear, nose & throat specialty) for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations. A specialist performs additional testing and has experience in treating chronic conditions.
Controversial Use of Antibiotics
In the past, doctors have prescribed an antibiotic regimens for my sinus problems. Having attended public health trainings at work, I knew about the emergence of antibiotic resistant super bacterias due to over-prescribing. I also found an Oxford Clinical Infectious Disease Journal study that shows antibiotic therapy is unsuccessful for most patients. So, should we discontinue using them altogether? My doctor says no, but she only prescribes azithromicin when appropriate for a true bacterial sinus infection.
Additional Medical Treatments
Some patients, benefit from surgical intervention if symptoms are severe. I had surgery for a completely blocked left maxillary sinus. My doctor clearly stated that there were no guarantees to prevent future blockages. As I was hoping to avoid a second surgery, I turned to Medscape Reference to learn more about prevention. I found an excellent paper titled “Chronic Sinusitis & Management,” which indicates how successful approaches identify underlying causes of sinus inflammation,as opposed to managing symptoms. Now I understand why my physician prescribes nasal sprays and other medications. They are not meant to cure acute sinusitis; however, daily use increases the time between my flare-ups. By treating my food allergies, I have a better chance of long-term recovery.
Home Care Remedies
Supportive measures help moisturize and stimulate drainage of my nasal passages. Decongestants and expectorants provide quick short-term relief by reducing the swelling of nasal mucous membranes, but my doctor warned that using them for more than a couple days may cause a rebound effect (symptoms return). Acetaminophen and ibuprofen seem to help me when I have pain or swelling. About an hour after taking it, I use a neti-pot for saline irrigation to flush the nasty stuff out.
Knowledgeable specialists are available to assist with an individualized treatment plan. The frustrated patient need not give up hope. With vigilance and adherence to doctor’s orders, my sinusitis is highly manageable.
“Fact sheet: Acute sinusitis” – PubMed Health
“Prospective observational study of chronic rhinosinusitis: environmental triggers and antibiotic implications” – Oxford Clinical Infectious Disease Journal; Berrylin J. Ferguson, Department of Otolaryngolog, Mashashi Narita, Department of Medicine, Victor L. Yu, Marilyn M. Wagener, Jack M. Gwaltney Jr.
“Chronic Sinusitis & Management” – Medscape Reference: Drugs, Diseases, & Procedures; Itzhak Brook, MD, MSc, Burke A Cunha, MD, et. al.