Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses. Ethmoid sinusitis is the inflammation of a specific group of sinuses – the ethmoid sinuses – that are found between the nose and the eyes.
The ethmoid sinuses are hollow spaces in the bones around the nose. They have a lining of mucus to help prevent the nose from drying out. Inflammation of the ethmoid sinuses can cause pressure and pain around the nose and between the eyes.
In this article we look at the causes, symptoms and diagnosis of ethmoid sinusitis and when to see a doctor. We also discuss how to treat and prevent ethmoid sinusitis.
The sinus lining traps dust, germs and pollutants. When the sinuses become inflamed, the mucus cannot flow normally. Swelling of the tissue traps mucus in the sinuses, which can allow germs to grow.
In ethmoid sinusitis, this inflammation affects the ethmoid sinuses. People have four groups sinuses, each of which can become inflamed:
The causes of ethmoid sinusitis will generally be similar to those of other forms of sinusitis. They can understand:
- viral infection, including the common cold
- seasonal allergies
- smoking or second-hand smoke
- a weakened immune system
- narrowing of the nasal passages due to nasal polyps
A person with ethmoid sinusitis can have many symptoms common to all sinus infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these can include:
- a runny nose
- a stuffy nose
- pain around the face
- a feeling of pressure around the face
- mucus flowing down your throat through your nose
- a sore throat
- a cough
- bad breath
In addition, they may have symptoms specific to ethmoid sinusitis due to the position of these sinuses near the eyes. These symptoms include a swollen, red, or sore eye.
Sinusitis can be acute, which means that a person has it only for a short time, or chronic, where it lasts for more than 12 weeks, even with treatment.
As with other types of sinusitis, The most common the cause of ethmoid sinusitis is a virus, like the common cold. In these cases, it will often be resolved without someone needing to see a doctor.
According to the CDC, a person should speak to a doctor if:
- they have very intense symptoms, such as severe facial pain or severe headache
- their symptoms improve but worsen
- their symptoms do not improve for more than 10 days
- they have had a fever for more than 3 to 4 days
When diagnosing ethmoid sinusitis, a doctor will ask her how she is feeling and will perform a physical exam to look for the characteristic signs and symptoms of sinusitis. These can understand:
- congestion, blockage or blockage in and around the nose
- large amounts of mucus in the nose
- facial pressure or pain
The doctor maybe also look for visible signs of inflammation in the person’s nose, throat or ears. After this examination, if the doctor is not sure of the correct diagnosis, he can also insert a thin tube into the nose with a light and a camera at the end to examine the sinus tissue.
Sometimes a doctor may recommend an x-ray or a CT scan to determine the likely cause of the person’s symptoms.
According to CDC, a person’s sinus infection will usually improve on its own. However, if a doctor suspects a bacterial infection, he may prescribe antibiotics.
The doctor may also prescribe:
- decongestants to help drain the sinuses
- antihistamines to reduce inflammation resulting from an allergic reaction
- nasal steroids to reduce inflammation in and around the nose
- saline nasal sprays, which increase the humidity in the nose
- pain relievers, if a person’s sinusitis causes a lot of pain
the CDC also notes that home remedies may help some people. They recommend putting a warm compress on the affected area or inhaling the steam from a bowl of hot water or a shower.
Learn more about how to treat sinus infections here.
People can often prevent sinus infections by taking steps to stay healthy and helping others stay healthy. These understand:
- practice good hand hygiene
- get recommended vaccines, like flu shots and pneumococcal shots
- avoid contact with people who currently have an upper respiratory infection, including a cold
- avoid smoke and second-hand smoke
- use a clean humidifier at home to add moisture to the air
Most people should find that ethmoid sinusitis resolves itself with some basic care and home remedies. If a doctor thinks that ethmoid sinusitis is due to a bacterial infection, he can prescribe antibiotics, which are usually very effective.
According to an article in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, if nasal polyps or a problem with the structure of a person’s nasal passage are the cause of their ethmoid sinusitis, they may require surgery to reduce the likelihood of their ethmoid sinusitis recurring.
People may wish to see their doctor for more information on the causes, treatment and prevention of sinusitis, especially if the disease is chronic.