Development of chronic sinusitis from acute sinusitis is the most common complication in sinusitis. The symptoms of chronic sinusitis are similar to the acute one except that they last longer. The bacterial sinusitis is almost always harmless though uncomfortable and painful. Even if the episode becomes severe, antibiotics can easily eliminate any further complications.
There are however more rare but serious complications as well. For instance, the infection from the sinus can easily spread around the eye, the bones, blood or into the brain. These are severe complications that require immediate medical attention. The following are some of these serious complications:
Osteomyelitis: Acute frontal sinusitis among adolescent males can put them under risk of severe problems. The major complication is the infection of bones called osteomyelitis. If it occurs in the bones of the forehead or other facial bones, then the patient can get headache, fever or soft swelling over the bone called Pott’s puffy tumour.
Orbital Infection: Infection in the eye socket is also known as orbital infection. It causes swelling and eventual sagging of the eyelid. This is a rare but serious issue among patients suffering from ethmoid sinusitis. Patients lose movement of the eye if this occurs. There is further pressure on the optic nerve, which can lead to vision impairment, which can become permanent. Generally there is characterized by severe illness and fever.
Blood Clot: Clotting of blood is another dangerous complication among people with ethmoid or frontal sinusitis. The symptoms are similar to orbital infection if the blood clot occurs in the sinus area around the front and top of the face. It has been noticed that the patients show dilated or fixed pupil. The symptoms generally start on one side of the head and eventually spread to both sides.
Brain Infection: This is considered the most dangerous complication in sinusitis. It occurs primarily among patients with frontal and sphenoid sinusitis. In this, anaerobic bacteria spread the infection from the sinus into the brain either through the blood vessels or bones. This can prove fatal because the condition can further lead to other serious diseases such as abscesses, meningitis etc. Patients with this complication exhibit mild personality changes, headache, altered consciousness, visual problems etc. It can lead to seizures, coma or ultimately death.
Though these severe types of complications occur only among 1 in 10,000 patients, they are more common with infections of the frontal sinus. The complications are more common among children compared to adults. If your child has swelling or redness of the eyelid or cheek, then it should be immediately reported to the doctor.