Ear Nose Throat

Rhinitis is the inflammation of the nasal passages while sinusitis is the inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, the hollow air-filled cavities in the skull that drain into the nasal cavity. Both rhinitis and sinusitis are often related since these structures have a similar type of mucosal epithelial lining and communicate with each other. Pathology in one part can therefore extend and involve the other. The treatments for both rhinitis and sinusitis, although largely depending on the cause, are similar. Congestion caused by swelling of the epithelial lining coupled with excessive mucus production is the hallmark of both rhinitis and sinusitis. In rhinitis this is usually isolated to nasal congestion, whereas in sinusitis the congestion of the sinuses also extends to the nasal cavity and passages.

There are four pairs of paranasal sinuses, which are hollow air-filled cavities, in the skull. It is believed that the sinuses play a role in making the skull lighter in weight, and allows for resonance that enhances the voice. It is a continuous with the nasal cavity, and lined with a similar epithelium that produces mucus. Most of this mucus drains into the nasal cavity and throat and ensures that there is no congestion. However, being exposed to the same environmental factors as the nasal cavity, it is also prone to the same irritants and microbes.