Helpful hint

The different forms of sinusitis can be particularly troublesome. Find out what they are and how to help prevent the onset of sinusitis.

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is the inflammation of one or more of the sinuses, which are mucus-producing cavities, or holes, located in pairs:

  • between the eyes,
  • behind the eyes,
  • above the eyes,
  • on either side of the nose.

The sinuses normally drain as the mucus is produced, but they can become blocked and fill with fluid, leading to one of four types of sinusitis:

  • Acute sinusitis (lasting up to a month)
  • Subacute sinusitis (lasting up to two months)
  • Chronic sinusitis (lasting months or years)
  • Recurrent sinusitis (returning)

What increases your risk of sinusitis?

Sinusitis is a common condition that can be painful and, if left untreated, lead to infection. The following factors increase your risk of developing sinusitis:

  • Nasal congestion from a cold or allergy
  • Blocked drainage ducts
  • A nasal passage abnormality, such as nasal polyps
  • An immune system disorder that puts you at risk for infection
  • Smoking or regular exposure to cigarette smoke

Can sinusitis be prevented?

While we can’t prevent all infections, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing sinusitis. Here are a few tips:

  • Avoid smoking or being around cigarette smoke
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and avoid touching your face as much as possible
  • Avoid known allergens, such as ragweed and dust

Sinusitis is a common but uncomfortable condition that can usually be treated. Speak with your doctor about your treatment plan.

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