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Ethmoid Sinusitis

Ethmoid Sinusitis

Ethmoid sinuses are the air-filled cavities located between the eye sockets. Ethmoid sinusitis refers to the inflammation of the ethmoid sinuses, which can be caused by a cold or upper respiratory infection. The causes, symptoms, and the treatment of this condition are briefly discussed in this article.
Chandramita Bora
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Sinuses are small, air-filled cavities that can be found inside the human skull. There are four sets of sinuses or paranasal sinuses inside the human skull, which are known as ethmoid sinuses, maxillary sinuses, frontal sinuses, and sphenoid sinuses.

Sinusitis or an infection of the sinuses can occur when any of these paranasal sinuses get inflamed. When the ethmoid sinuses get inflamed, it is known as ethmoid sinusitis, which can be acute or chronic. Acute ethmoid sinusitis develops quickly and lasts for a week or so, while chronic sinusitis can last for more than 8 weeks.

Possible Causes

Ethmoid sinusitis is usually caused by viral infections, especially an infection of the upper respiratory tract and common cold. Occasionally, bacterial infections can also cause sinusitis. Sinusitis caused by fungal infections, or fungal sinusitis is however, quite rare.

Several factors can increase the risk of developing sinus infections. Some such common risk factors for sinusitis are, allergies, hay fever or allergic rhinitis, asthma, inhalation of smoke, dust, mold, pollen, and animal dander, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and the obstruction of the nasal passage due to the development of nasal polyps and tumors.

Ethmoid Sinusitis Symptoms

If it is acute sinusitis, then the symptoms generally last for one or two weeks. But in the case of chronic sinusitis, the symptoms can persist for a much longer period. The most common symptoms of ethmoid sinusitis are:
  • Nasal congestion and discharge
  • Post nasal drip
  • Pain and pressure around the inner corners of the eyes
  • Headaches that usually affect the temples or the area around the eyes
  • Fever
  • A sore throat
  • Halitosis or bad breath
  • Drooping and swollen eyelids
  • Loss of the sense of smell

The conventional treatment options for this condition are, nasal sprays and decongestants. Decongestant sprays can open up the airways and thus, alleviate the pain and pressure associated with this condition. Sometimes, corticosteroids can also be required for reducing the inflammation caused by sinusitis.

If the infection is caused by bacteria and is severe in nature, then antibiotics can be recommended by physicians. Sinusitis caused by a viral infection on the other hand, resolves on its own without any medical treatment. Sinusitis can also be treated at home with some simple home remedies. The healing process can be accelerated by increasing the intake of fluid. This can help thin the mucus and promote its drainage.

Similarly, steam inhalation and nasal irrigation with saline water can clear up the congestion, and relieve the pain. Rarely, surgery can be required for treating this condition, especially if the infection is severe and it persists for a considerable period of time. Sinusitis can lead to certain complications at times. Such complications can include, formation of blood clots on both sides of the face, and infection of the eye socket. An infection of the eye socket can cause swollen and droopy eyelids, if it is left untreated. Sometimes, blindness can also result from such infections.

Therefore, if the symptoms of ethmoid sinusitis last for a long time, the condition should be properly evaluated and treated with the help of a physician. Sometimes, a chronic infection of the sinus can also spread to the Eustachian tube and block it. This can cause an ear infection, which if left untreated can put pressure on the inner ear and cause dizziness. This is how ethmoid sinusitis and dizziness are related.

This condition can be prevented by taking a few precautionary and preventive measures. Sinusitis can be prevented or its frequency can be reduced to a great extent by avoiding the potential allergens and irritants, and by using a humidifier. Equally important is to stay well-hydrated and strengthen the immune system by following a nutritious diet.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.