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Sinus Headaches and Sinusitis

Most of us don’t think much about our sinuses until they cause problems due to allergies or illness. However, these air-filled spaces are responsible for producing mucus that moisturizes the inside of our noses, protecting us from pollutants, micro-organisms, dust and dirt. Unfortunately, when we do have an allergic reaction or infection, they will produce more mucus, and can become inflamed and swell, blocking the usual drainage channels and resulting in pressure and headaches.

With a sinus headache, there will be a deep and constant pain within your cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of your nose, which typically worsens if you move your head suddenly. This pain may also be accompanied by a runny nose, feeling of fullness within the ears, fever, and facial swelling.

Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, may occur when the sinuses are blocked and filled during an illness, allowing germs to grow and create an infection. Symptoms include those of a sinus headache, but you could also experience a stuffy nose, loss of smell, cough or congestion, bad breath, fatigue and dental pain. If you have two or more symptoms, or thick green or yellow nasal discharge, it could indicate acute sinusitis.

If you experience discomfort and your doctor diagnoses you with sinusitis, you may be given antibiotics for treatment. To help relieve symptoms, taking antihistamines or decongestants is recommended, but only for a brief time. For severe nasal blockages, you can use inhaled nasal decongestants, such as Afrin, but using these for longer than 3 days could result in your symptoms becoming worse. Pain relievers could help alleviate your discomfort, but if ineffective, a corticosteroid may be provided to ease inflammation.

For those who experience chronic sinusitis or sinus problems, a more thorough examination will need to be done in order to determine the cause and help provide a long term solution. As this cold and fall allergy season gets underway, you may be more at risk of developing a sinus headache or sinusitis. Should you have prolonged discomfort and have tried other means of relief without success, visit our office today. We will help determine if antibiotics are necessary for treatment, or if there are other alternatives we can use to have you breathing easy.