Common ailments

Sinusitis

I recently came down with a cold which lasted nearly three weeks. Even though I have finally fought off my cold, I still feel congested and I get a lot of pain across my forehead, cheekbones and in my ears. For the past couple of days I have also had quite a high temperature. Should I visit my doctor?

What started off as just a common cold may have developed into sinusitis. Your sinuses are the small air filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead, and sinusitis occurs when the lining of your sinuses becomes swollen and inflamed. This swelling can block the sinuses and close the openings that lead to your nose causing a blocked up feeling and pain.

Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus, such as the common cold or flu. When the condition develops quickly in this way over a few days, it is known as acute sinusitis and will normally clear up within two or three weeks without the need for medical treatment.

In the meantime, however, there are a number of things you can do to help ease your symptoms. These include applying a warm flannel to your face to ease discomfort, and inhaling steam from a hot shower. You could also use a salt water spray or drops to relieve nasal congestion. These are available from your local pharmacy. Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen will help relieve any pain and will also help to bring down any fever that you may have. If your symptoms persist much longer however, then I would advise you to contact your GP.

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