Allergic Fungal Sinusitis (AFS) is a fungal condition of the sinuses caused by dematiaceous fungi like Bipolaris, Curvularia, Exerohilium, Alternaria, and Fusarium. Many rhinologists believe that allergic fungal sinusitis may result from an immune reaction to fungi. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Allergic Fungal Sinusitis?
Allergic fungal sinusitis is a non-invasive type of fungal sinusitis. It occurs when fungal matter triggers nasal and/or sinus inflammation. Coming into contact with infected fungi can lead to blocked nasal passages and sticky mucus build-up.
In this form of sinusitis, the sinus cavity fills with a gelatinous substance along with nasal polyps, which results in nasal blockage, chronic inflammation, and a foul odor. AFS is considered less an infection and more of a hypersensitivity caused by inhaling fungal organisms.
The condition may be on one side or both sides and is characterized by the presence of allergic mucin (thick glue-like secretions) within the affected areas. Allergic Fungal Sinusitis is also strongly associated with nasal polyps. It is essentially an immunoglobulin reaction to fungal organisms in the sinonasal region.
Who Is Likely to Develop Allergic Fungal Sinusitis?
Since allergic fungal sinusitis is a reaction to one of the many different types of fungi, anyone can develop it, even patients with strong immune systems.
Patients may experience symptoms like nasal discharge, congestion, sneezing, and facial pressure. Also, keep in mind that there are likely to be more cases of allergic fungal sinusitis in warm and humid climates.
How to Tell If You Have Allergic Fungal Sinusitis?
Some symptoms of allergic fungal sinusitis include symptoms similar to chronic sinusitis, such as:
- Decreased or altered sense of smell
- Nasal congestion, nasal drainage, and runny nose
- Facial pain and pressure
In cases of concerning infection, you should seek early medical treatment for any of these warning signs for sinusitis complications:
- Severe swelling in the eyes or cheeks.
- Numbness in the face
- Changes in skin color
It’s always best to contact a medical professional immediately if you or anyone you know shows severe symptoms of fungal sinusitis.
How to Treat Allergic Fungal Sinusitis
Corticosteroids are the preferred medical treatment for allergic fungal sinusitis and can be administered nasally or systemically. Endoscopic sinus surgery combined with medical therapy is another viable option. Surgery may be necessary to remove allergic mucin and nasal polyps and restore the ventilation and drainage of sinuses. Allergy treatments like immunotherapy and antihistamines can also help control allergic fungal sinusitis in patients.
Visit the SinusHealth website for more information on sinusitis and the medical complications it can cause. Our board-certified otolaryngologists provide trusted answers to your questions about nasal and sinus conditions and treatment methods. We seek to encourage excellent patient care by delivering the right information to you. If you have further doubts, feel free to contact us online!