When does sinusitis become a problem?

Most of us have experienced an annoying sinus infection at some point or another and they can often feel impossible to shift. However, if you've had a lingering bout of sinusitis that just isn't improving or what seems like repeated sinusitis attacks in a short period, it could be time to seek medical attention.

Sinusitis: virus or bacteria?

Sinusitis merely means an inflammation of the sinuses, the hollow cavities in the skull that are lined with mucosa, and although this is commonly caused by a virus such as cold and flu, it can be the result of a bacterial infection.

Sinusitis caused by a virus tends to clear up quickly but if it's a result of a bacteria you may require antibiotics. Generally, a bacterial infection will be suspected if the sinusitis has not resolved after a couple of weeks and is associated with other symptoms, such as a fever or swelling.

A sinus infection can turn serious if it spreads to the eyes or brain. The former is more common and usually presents as swelling around the eyes, but can lead to blindness. More rarely, the sinus infection can spread into the brain, leading to conditions such as meningitis or a brain abscess.

Sometimes it's not a case of the severity of the sinus infection, but the frequency. There are a number of underlying conditions that increase your risk of developing sinusitis by affecting how mucus drains from your nasal passages, including allergies, nasal polyps or a deviated septum. Some patients endure repeated bouts of sinusitis.

But you don't have to suffer every year in silence. If you're experiencing repeated bouts of sinusitis, there are a number of treatment options that an ENT specialist such as Mr Julian Hamann can offer. An increasingly popular treatment is a balloon sinuplasty; this is a very gentle procedure that can open drainage channels in the nose and clear blockages with little trauma to the nose and minimal downtime.

To book your consultation with Mr Hamann at his Tunbridge Wells Clinic, call 01892 740671.