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Common Causes of Nasal Fungus Infections

People experiencing nasal congestion and having difficulty breathing could be suffering from a mild infection to more serious nasal fungus infections. Every year, millions of Americans experience some degree of nasal or sinus discomfort that affects their daily routines and their quality of sleep. For individuals with more serious conditions, understanding the symptoms and causes of nasal problems will help determine what can be done to treat the condition.

Types of Nasal Infections

There are air spaces called sinuses in the forehead and in bones behind the cheekbones and between the eyes. Mucus is produced in these cavities, helping to keep nasal passages moist, and providing protection against pollutants, allergens and other irritants. If the sinuses become infected, a person can have trouble breathing, experience thick nasal discharge, headaches and pain around the cheeks, eyes and forehead, and suffer from fatigue and even toothaches.

Infections can result from:

  • Viruses such as those causing respiratory tract infections and colds which usually disappear without treatment
  • Bacterial infections which can usually be effectively treated with antibiotics
  • Fungal infections, which are chronic sinusitis conditions lasting longer than 12 weeks and not responding to antibiotics

Causes of Nasal Fungus Infections

Fungal infections of the sinuses are usually benign except when they happen in people who have already had their immune systems compromised by conditions like chemotherapy or an organ transplant. There are two kinds of noninvasive infections, and three varieties of invasive fungal infections. Making the distinction between the two categories of infections is important, because the prognosis and treatment is different for each.

Noninvasive or benign infections cause sinusitis symptoms. A CT scan or analysis of sinus secretions may be needed to identify this category of fungal infection. There are two forms of this infection:

  • Allergic fungal sinusitis is usually triggered by allergic rhinitis, and patients often have asthma
  • Sinus mycetoma is a condition that exhibits sinusitis mainly on one side, with a gravelly like discharge

There are three forms of invasive fungal sinusitis:

  • Acute invasive sinusitis happens when there is a rapid spread of fungi; the condition is common with patients who have diabetics and otherwise compromised immune systems; these people are usually very ill, with cough, fever, nasal discharge, and even changes in mental status; usually hospitalization is needed
  • Chronic invasive fungal sinusitis often occurs in diabetic patients, and is a slowly progressive process with a decrease in vision
  • Granulomatous invasive fungal sinusitis is typically reported with immune compromised individuals from North Africa

Cures for Nasal Fungus Infections

The preferred treatment for nasal fungus infections depends on the type of infection and the occurrence of invasive activity. Postoperative treatment could include use of systemic steroids, nasal salt water washes, or antifungal treatment.

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