Sinusitis is caused by inflammation of the sinuses, which often develops due to bacteria stuck in the nasal passages. The condition is most common following a lengthy cold or the flu but can be caused by allergies, as well. When left alone, sinusitis usually clears up on its own in two to three weeks, but it can be alleviated more quickly with medications such as painkillers for headaches and swelling and decongestants. Some people also find relief using a neti pot, which irrigates the nasal passages with purified water and a sodium solution. A doctor may prescribe steroid medication to treat severe cases of sinusitis.
The sinus cavities extend from the upper jaw to the forehead and across the nasal passages in the face. Steroids can radically reduce inflammation caused by sinus pressure and bacteria, but they come with side effects, as well. A common course of treatment for sinusitis is a combination of antibiotics and steroids.
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Inflamed sinuses cause more trouble than just difficulty breathing. They can also affect the inner ear, leading to balance problems. Some people report dizziness and confusion in severe cases. A thorough examination by an ear, nose, and throat physician (ENT) can properly diagnose sinusitis and determine its severity.
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