Changes in lifestyle can lead to sinusitis

If you have nasal congestion, facial pressure, cough and thick nasal discharge, there is a possibility you are suffering from rhinosinusitis, commonly referred to as sinusitis. Most people who are unaware of it have a misconception and consider common cold as sinusitis. The incidence of this ailment has increased over the years due to lifestyle changes, pollution and urbanisation.

According to ENT specialists, sinus is a hollow space in the body. There are many types of sinus, but sinusitis affects the paranasal sinuses, the spaces behind the face that lead to the nasal cavity.  Sinusitis can be classified as an environmental disorder common during change of seasons, especially monsoons. Persons working for long hours in air-conditioned rooms, frequent swimmers and the ones exposed to allergic components like pollen of flowers are more prone to sinusitis.

“A majority of the patients don’t realise that sinusitis can be treated, thanks to modern medicine,” says ENT surgeon M Venkat Ratnam. Several patients don’t follow doctor’s prescription religiously. “In such cases, sinusitis develops into a chronic state. Chronic sinusitis can be treated by endoscopic surgery,” he said. Acute and chronic conditions are the two types of sinusitis. The former is a short-term condition while the latter lasts for a long time.

“Patients have to take antibodies, antihistamines, steam inhalation and pain killers for 8 to 10 days for acute sinusitis,” Venkat Ratnam informed. Usually, sinusitis is characterised by nasal obstruction and discharge, cough, fever, headaches and sometimes even dental infections. “Sometimes patients may have green or yellow nasal discharge. Patients discontinue medication after five or six days. This leads to chronic sinusitis,” the ENT surgeon said.

“We are seeing significant increase in the number of allergy-triggered sinusitis cases,” said K Ravi Kumar, consultant, Singari ENT Hospital. He added that this incidence is related to pollution in the city where air quality is sullied by a cocktail of vehicle emissions, cotton dust, pollen of Parthenium weed, fungal molds and spores.  Over the years, sinusitis management has undergone dramatic change at the perceptive, diagnostic and therapeutic levels. “We are also coming across a shift from bacteria-triggered sinusitis to fungal sinusitis because of widespread use of antibiotics to treat various infection,” he added.