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Persistent headache and runny nose may indicate chronic sinusitis

Winters are warmly welcomed in the UAE, with the cool temperatures a welcome change from the intense summer heat. However, this also results in the onslaught of coughs, colds, the flu, headaches and runny noses. For some, the symptoms can affect the sinus cavities causing an infection.

“The sinuses are air filled cavities behind our cheekbones and forehead. Sinusitis is caused when the linings of these air pockets become infected and therefore inflamed. It is usually caused by a persistent cold, allergic rhinitis where the lining in the nose gets swollen, growths in the nose called polyps or a deviated nasal septum,” said Dr. Seejo George, Specialist ENT Surgeon at Medeor 24x7 Hospital, Dubai. “The symptoms of sinusitis are quite similar to that of the common cold or the flu and sufferers tend to ignore them until it becomes chronic.”

“One of the main symptoms of sinusitis is headache and this pain may increase when a person bends down. Another symptom is pressure and swelling of facial areas over sinus cavities such as around the cheeks, eye sockets and forehead. A common symptom amongst children when their sinus cavities are infected is ear pain due to the pressure on the surrounding nerves and tissues,” the Doctor continued. “Other symptoms include a greenish yellow discharge when you blow your nose and losses of sense of smell as the nasal cavities are swollen.”

If the sinusitis is caused by a bacterial infection and does not last more than a week or two, a Doctor will just observe the patient to monitor if the condition worsens. For symptoms that persist over two weeks and are recurrent, medication will be prescribed.

“If a patient is suffering from acute sinusitis, meaning it does not last over a week or two, we usually recommend a decongestant and saline nasal drops. For persistent symptoms, a course of antibiotics will be prescribed for 10 to 14 days,” said Dr. Seejo. “In some instances, medication does not work and then a patient will have to undergo a nasal endoscopy. This simple procedure helps in determining the cause of the sinusitis. If the sinusitis is caused by nasal polyps, a corticosteroid spray is recommended in the initial stages. In the instance the spray does not help, a simple day surgical procedure is done to remove the polyps.”

Other surgical procedures that help with chronic sinusitis are a turbinectomy, which shrinks the tissues of the nose, and a balloon sinuplasty, which results in the opening of the swollen sinuses to drain mucus more freely.

Medeor 24x7 Hospital, Dubai is offering free ENT consultations, on prior appointment basis, till the 20th of February and free nasal X-rays on doctor recommendation. For appointments, please call 800500600.

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