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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1988 Nov;82(5 Pt 2):950-6.

Sinusitis in adults and its relation to allergic rhinitis, asthma, and nasal polyps.

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Division of Allergy and Immunology, St. Louis University School of Medicine, Mo.


Sinusitis, an infection of the paranasal sinuses, has been linked to allergic rhinitis, asthma, and nasal polyps. Sinusitis is a common complication of allergic rhinitis, which can lead to inflammation of the sinus mucosa, obstruction of the sinus opening or ostium, and generally favorable conditions for bacterial growth. Sinusitis can trigger asthma. Stimulated nerves in an infected sinus may result in parasympathetic stimulation to the bronchial tree and in smooth muscle contraction. Sinusitis may be a cause of nasal polyps, which are common when sinusitis complicates allergic rhinitis and even more common in nonallergic rhinitis. Treatment of sinusitis strives to eliminate infection and promote drainage. Ampicillin or amoxicillin is the antibiotic of choice. All patients with sinusitis should be treated with antibiotic to encourage drainage. Fluids, expectorants, and decongestants, both oral and topical, should be used. As many as half of patients with sinusitis also have marked rhinitis (either allergic or nonallergic), nasal polyps, or swollen, edematous mucosa; these patients should also receive topical steroids, such as flunisolide. Flunisolide promotes drainage and aeration by decreasing inflammation, swelling, and the influx of white blood cells. Persistent sinusitis may need to be treated surgically.

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