Breathing is essential to life, but how we breathe can be equally important for our health. While up to 50% of adults tend to breathe through their mouths, breathing through the nose warms and moisturizes the air coming in, making it easier for the lungs to use.
Unfortunately, a sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, can affect nose breathing. Sinusitis affects 31 million people in America, and 28.9 million have chronic sinus problems overall. If you struggle with sinus problems, it might be time to examine why and what can be done about it.
For those who live in the Kissimmee or Orlando, Florida area and have issues with sinusitis or other sinus problems, Drs. Wade Han, Elvira Livigni De Armas and our experienced team at Florida Ear Nose Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center can provide relief. To start, let’s look at the causes of sinusitis, the risk factors that can make it chronic, and ways to prevent and treat it.
Causes of sinusitis
Sinus infections are often due to a virus, but bacteria can create the same problems, along with fungus and molds. But, whether the problem stems from an upper respiratory infection (cold), nasal polyps, seasonal allergies, a weakened immune system, or a deviated septum, the result is fluid trapped in the sinuses, allowing germs to breed.
Acute sinusitis is a case that only lasts for as long as the irritant or allergen is present, and usually passes within a week or up to a month after the initial infection. Chronic sinusitis is the result of an infection lasting longer than three months, often resisting treatment.
Risk factors that can lead to chronic sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis is often due to structural problems or other medical conditions, including:
Your body’s reaction to allergens leads to inflammation which can block nasal passages and make breathing more difficult. If you’re around allergy triggers for extended periods, chronic sinusitis can be the result.
Abnormal structural issues
A deviated septum is a common type of structural abnormality, but a broken nose can also create problems with breathing and lead to problems.
Polyps and tumors can grow in your sinus cavity and lead to blockages that affect breathing.
Numerous conditions can also lead to sinus infections, such as cystic fibrosis, HIV, and other conditions that compromise the immune system.
There are other factors to look out for, like environmental pollutants, cigarette smoke, dental infections, and aspirin sensitivity.
Prevention and treatment
Avoiding pollutants, cigarette smoke, and allergy triggers can help to prevent chronic sinus infections, but if the problems are based on underlying illnesses or structural issues, treating those will help to treat the sinusitis as well. Minor cases can often be managed with a saline sinus wash to keep things lubricated, and by using a humidifier or hot steam to reduce inflammation and drain mucus.
Allergies, viruses, and bacterial infections can be treated with medications, while tumors, polyps, and structural conditions can be treated with surgeries such as endoscopic sinus surgery, septoplasty, and rhinoplasty.
Whether your sinus infection is acute or chronic, we’re here to help. To find relief and breathe normally again, make an appointment with Drs. Han, Livigni De Armas, and Florida Ear Nose Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center today to get started.