Medical Minute 8-18: Fighting Sinus Infections

By: Vanessa Welch Email
By: Vanessa Welch Email

Getting work done at the office was no easy task for Lydia Mason who for years battled sinus infections.

"It was difficult for me to breathe. I was always blowing my nose. So, if I was at work, at meetings, I would have to leave sometimes because I was constantly blowing my nose," said Lydia Mason, Sinus Sufferer.

Without the ability to smell, she also lost her ability to taste.

"That's terrible when you can't taste your food."

Doctor Janaki Emani hears those complaints often.

"With a sinus infection or even the common cold, fluid will build up in all of your sinuses."

With chronic sinusitis, surgery could be your best option. Balloon sinuplasty can now be done on an outpatient basis, meaning less risk and less recovery time.

"It really focuses on less is more. So you go in and you don't physically remove any of the bone. You dilate them and you wash out the sinuses," said Janaki Emani, M.D., Surgeon at Weiss Memorial Hospital Clinical Associate at University of Chicago.

That's the option Lydia Mason chose. The result? She's enjoying her favorite foods once more.

"We're having a curry dish. I couldn't taste curry before. I can taste the wonderful spices of the Thai food. It is wonderful!"

For more information on other series produced by Ivanhoe Broadcast News contact John Cherry at (407) 691-1500,


BACKGROUND: Millions of Americans have issues with their sinuses, leaving many with headaches, fatigue, and that congested feeling. The sinuses contain defenses against viruses and bacteria. They are covered with a mucous layer and cells that contain tiny hairs on the surface known as cilia, which help trap and propel pollutants. Sinus issues can be acute, usually lasting less than eight weeks and occurs no more than three times per year, and chronic. Chronic, or recurring sinusitis, lasts longer than eight weeks and can occur more than four times per year with symptoms lasting more than 20 days at a time. ( Source: Emedicine, WebMD)

CHRONIC SINISITUS: Symptoms of chronic sinusitis include pain and fatigue and can have significant effects on quality of life. This condition can cause emotional distress, impair normal activity, and reduce attendance at work or school. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the average patient with chronic sinusitis misses about four days of work per year. (Source: Emedicine, WebMD)

CALL A DOCTOR: A doctor should be contacted if the patient is experiencing pain or pressure in the upper face accompanied by nasal congestion or discharge, postnasal drip, or ongoing bad breath that is unrelated to dental problems. Fever and headaches can also be symptoms of a sinus infection. A doctor can often treat simple sinusitis but, if left undiagnosed and untreated; complications of sinusitis can occur that may lead to severe medical problems and possibly death. ( Source: Emedicine, WebMD)

TREATMENT: To help clear out the sinuses it is recommended to try nasal irrigation, a technique that involves using a neti pot or bottle and then buying or making your own nasal mix by combining eight ounces of lukewarm water with a half-teaspoon of sea salt. You pour the saline solution into one nostril. As it flows through your nasal cavity into the other nostril, it washes out mucus and allergens. With chronic sinusitis, surgery could be the best option. There is an additional surgical option for treatment of blocked sinuses called Balloon Sinuplasty Technology. It’s an endoscopic, catheter-based system for patients suffering from sinusitis. The FDA-cleared technology uses a small, flexible, sinus balloon catheter to open up blocked sinus passageways, restoring normal sinus drainage. When the sinus balloon is inflated, it gently restructures and widens the walls of the passageway while maintaining the integrity of the sinus lining. (Source: WebMD, Balloon

For More Information, Contact:

Catherine Gianaro
Public Relations
Weiss Memorial Hospital
(773) 564-7285

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