Runny nose, fever and cough could be more than common cold! Know signs of fungal sinusitis

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The sound of people coughing during winter is very common. Many people also have common cold, runny nose and sometimes fever. You might think that a few cups of ginger tea, cough syrup, steam inhalation or home remedies would work in your favour. But there are times when the usual remedies for cough and cold don’t work. That’s because it could be more than just common cold. Runny nose, cough, cold and fever are some of the signs of fungal sinusitis, and you should be careful and know about the treatments for fungal sinusitis.

Winter is not just about warm chic clothes, bonfire and hot healthy soups. It also means time for cough and cold.

To find out if you should be concerned if you are down with fever, Health Shots consulted Dr. Navneet Sood, Senior Consultant in Pulmonology at Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi.

Cough and fever are some of the signs of fungal sinusitis. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Signs of fungal sinusitis

While runny nose, fever, cough and cold could mean that you have fungal sinusitis, there are more signs of fungal sinusitis that you should know about.

Here are some of them –

• Nasal congestion
• Facial pain or pressure
• Foul odour in the nose or loss of smell
• Nasal drainage
• Changes of the skin colour like going pale or turning slightly black
• Numbness of your face
• Facial swelling, especially your cheeks or eyelids getting affected.

What is fungal sinusitis?

As the name suggests, fungal sinusitis is a sinus infection that is connected to a fungus, says Dr Sood. It happens when there is an allergic reaction to fungi within your nose. If you don’t go to a doctor and get yourself treated then the sinuses will fill up with thick mucus and nasal polyps (soft and painless noncancerous growths on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses) can get formed.

People with asthma and nasal allergies are more likely to develop sinusitis. Image Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Who is at risk for fungal sinusitis?

A sinus infection doesn’t really spare anyone, as everybody can get affected by it. But people with asthma, nasal allergies, nasal polyps and abnormal nose structures are more likely to develop sinusitis, says the expert. Smoking can also increase the risk of sinus infection, so this makes it another reason for quitting smoking.

Types of fungal sinusitis

There are many types of fungal sinusitis, and they depend on the degree of invasion of the sinuses, says the expert. There are non-invasive and invasive types of fungal sinusitis.

The three types of non-invasive fungal sinusitis are –

1. Fungal ball: In this case, the fungus builds up in the sinuses and forms something that looks like a ball. The ball can get bigger and even block the sinuses.

2. Saprophytic fungal sinusitis: This happens when the fungus grows on crusts of mucus right inside the nose.

3. Allergic fungal rhinosinusitis: The fungus is found easily in the environment and causes an allergic reaction. This results in sticky mucus and thick fungal debris.

The three types of invasive fungal sinusitis –

1. Acute fulminant invasive rhinosinusitis: This one is quite a life-threatening condition. It is more common in people who have a weak immune system due to cancer or chemotherapy. The infection can spread to the eyes and brain from nose, leading to blindness and even death.

2. Chronic invasive rhinosinusitis: People with diabetes have to be careful about a lot of things, including their diet. Turns out that they also need to be worried about chronic invasive rhinosinusitis as they are more likely to have this type of sinusitis. It’s quite similar to acute fulminant invasive rhinosinusitis, but it doesn’t spread to other parts very quickly.

3. Granulomatous invasive fungal sinusitis: This one is quite rare, and it happens when the body launches an immune response to fungus. The immune system attacks the lining of the nose and ends up destroying the nasal tissue.

Treatment for fungal sinusitis

Saline nasal irrigation, nasal sprays or solutions, reduce drainage and rinse away irritants and allergies, says Dr Sood. There are oral or injected corticosteroids as well. These medications will help to relieve inflammation from severe sinusitis, especially if you also have nasal polyps.

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