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Sinusitis is an infection of mucous membranes


Understanding sinusitis


Sinusitis is one of the most common diagnoses within primary care (7) and accounts for more antibiotic prescribing than any other condition or single diagnosis in the United States (6). Sinusitis can have marked effects on quality of life and is responsible for reduced workplace and school attendance by 3-4% and performance by 30-40%. Sinusitis, therefore, has a high economic burden with the condition and its related conditions occupying approximately one-third of primary care consultations (4). This highlights the importance of how valuable herbal medicine are for symptomatic relief and the treatment of sinusitis, especially in the treatment of viral and allergic sinusitis. They can also be a vital aid for our global burdened health systems in growing pandemic of antibiotic resistance.

Sinusitis is classified according to duration. This can be:

  • Acute sinusitis – sudden onset, lasting less than 4 weeks with complete resolution
  • Subacute sinusitis – a continuum of acute sinusitis but less than 12 weeks
  • Recurrent acute sinusitis – four or more episodes of acute, lasting at least 7 days each, in any 1 year
  • Chronic sinusitis – signs and symptoms persist 12 weeks or longer (8)

Most cases of sinusitis are due to viral pathogens with a resolution of symptoms for these acute cases being very favourable. Antibiotics or imaging may not be the necessary first port of call for clinical diagnosis or treatment for acute viral sinusitis (9).

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

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