How to Control Fungal Sinusitis

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To control fungal sinusitis, it is important to see an ear, nose and throat specialist who can remove the fungi. Employ an allergy therapy if the problem persists with advice from a pediatrician in this free video on fungal sinusitis.

Part of the Video Series: Sinus & Head Cold Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about how to control fungal sinusitis. Now, fungal sinusitis actually comes in several different forms, but pretty much all of them are going to require the help of an ear, nose and throat specialist--an ENT or odolaryngologist--to help control. Probably the most common and most benign form is called fungal ball. This is literally sort of a wad of fungi--usually aspergillus--that invades or lives in the maxillary sinuses. Those are the ones right here at the front of your face. The symptoms may be very much like bacterial sinusitis, with pain, discomfort, fullness; however, instead of responding to antimicrobial therapies or antibacterial therapies, they just don't. The only way to really fix that is for an ear, nose and throat surgeon to do a relatively simple procedure called an endoscopic exploration of the sinus. Usually they can remove the fungal ball, and that's often curative. Now, there can also be a more chronic indolent condition called allergic fungal sinusitis, and this is not just one mass, it's really sort of fungal spores that have gotten into the sinuses, usually in somebody who already has allergies, and cause kind of a combination of fungal infection and allergies. In addition to, again, having sinus surgery to scrape that gunk out of the sinuses, the patient will often also need chronic allergy therapy to keep the allergy under control. It not infrequently comes back, so having a good relationship with your ear, nose and throat doctor is important. Now, the most serious kind of fungal infections of the sinus are also the least common, especially in the United States, and that's good news, as they can be really nasty, and that's invasive fungal sinusitis. In many cases, the worst cases are associated with forms of immunodeficiency, either through chemotherapy, very severe diabetes, HIV, or other diseases that affect the immune system. That can be a life-threatening and very serious disease that usually requires a combination of surgical approach and antifungal medications, usually very aggressively, because that disease can be quite deadly. So, if you have sinus inflammation, pressure, or discomfort that does not seem to be responding to the usual therapies, that's lasting too long, you definitely want to have your primary care physician find you an ear, nose and throat doctor who can help you out and figure out whether fungi may be responsible. Talking about what to do for fungal sinusitis, I'm Dr. David Hill.


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