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What Causes An Acute Sinus Infection or Sinusitis? - Nurse's Guide

 

 

   

What Causes An Acute Sinus Infection or Sinusitis?

 

If you're wondering whether you have acute or chronic sinusitis I'll focus on what acute sinusitis is caused by in this article. Sinusitis also means a sinus infection. Sinus infections can cause a wide range of sinus symptoms, including coughing, sneezing, sore throat, pressure, sinus headache, even eye pain, tooth pain or jaw pain and other sinus problems.

 

First of all sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus cavities.  There are four sets of sinuses and it can occur in any of them.

 

Acute sinusitis can occur after you have a cold. Colds are caused by viruses.  The result is that the sinus cavities become inflamed and you'll have symptoms of sinusitis but they'll get better on their own usually within 10-14 days.

 

But if this inflammation has been caused by an infection by bacteria then this infection is called acute sinusitis, but isn't the only type of infection to cause it. I'll discuss this.

 

The inflammation from a cold causes the mucous membranes that line the sinus cavities, to swell. Air and mucous become backed up because the passage is now too narrow for the mucous to pass through.  Now that it's trapped, bacteria and fungus can feed on the trapped mucous.

 

Certain bacteria live in your nose, such as haemophilus inlfuenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae.   This is natural but when you blow your nose or sniffle, the changes in the pressure can cause the bacteria or fungus or whatever particles or organisms are in your nasal passages to go up into the sinus cavities.  It's the opposite of what you would think normally - that blowing your nose would help get rid of the problems.  Tests have shown that the bacteria, fungus and particles do indeed go up into the sinus cavities.

 

If these organisms become trapped then the one quart of mucous that has to move through your sinuses every day can't get through and hardens causing acute sinusitis.

 

For many years doctors thought the infections were caused by bacteria but newer research has shown that the majority of infections are actually fungal infections.  There is a common household mold that lingers throughout every household.

 

The most common fungus is called Aspergillus and you can find it in decaying vegetation, like dead leaves and composting piles.

 

Other causes include allergies such as a pollen allergy which is sometimes called hay fever. Other allergies including those to dust mites can also cause acute sinusitis.

 

People who have chronic nasal problems who find that their sinus membranes swell can get acute sinusitis due to the narrowing of passages and entrance of bacteria or fungi similar to those who get a cold.

 

It used to be thought that fungal infections did not cause acute sinusitis.   But recent studies have shown that the rate of fungal infections is in the 90% range. Antibiotics will do nothing to help fungal infections.  That is the major reason why antibiotics don't work for sinus infections since there goal is to target specific bacteria.

 

Of course antibiotics can upset the body's balance and cause yeast infections also.  So antibiotics are not commonly given as they were in the past. There are other approaches that are better now rather than taking antibiotics even if the problem is caused by bacteria.

 

If you have a reduced or suppressed immune system function you may be more likely to get acute sinusitis. This can be from a known auto-immune disease you know you have or from an unknown cause.

 

People who have acute sinusitis do not seek out sinus surgery.

 

In any case if you're trying to determine if you have acute sinusitis, this may give you some idea as to what is causing it.  For me, just being around old dust and the exposure to the particles can cause it if I'm not careful. Perhaps they actually get up into my nasal passages enough to cause swelling. They can be irritating and start a sinus infection if not taken care of right away.   I avoid it by relying on my natural sinus cures and treatment for sinus relief and got rid of my sinus problems for good.

 

copyright©2008 Helen Hecker All rights reserved. No permission is given to copy or reproduce this article in any way or in any form.

 

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