What is Sinusitis
Sinusitis is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining of the sinuses. Generally, the sinuses are four paired cavities (spaces) in the head. They are connected by narrow channels. The sinus makes thin mucus that drains out of the channels of the nose. This drainage helps to keep the nose clean and free from bacteria. Normally the sinus cavity is filled with air. They get blocked filled with fluid which causes bacteria growth and causes an infection and inflammation.
Infection of Sinus
Sinusitis is caused by a virus, bacteria or fungus that swells and blocks the sinuses. A few specific causes include:
- The common cold
- Nasal and seasonal allergies, including allergies to mold
- Polyps (growth in the nasal cavity)
- A deviated septum. The septum is the line of cartilage that divides our nose. If a deviated septum isn’t straight which is closer to the nasal passage on one side of our nose as a result it causes a blockage.
- A weak immune system from illness or medications.
- For the most part, smoking increases the risks of sinus infections. Smoking is harmful to smokers as well as people around them who smoke.
Symptoms of Sinus infection
Medically known as sinusitis, infection appears when our nasal cavities become infected, swollen or inflamed.
In some cases, bacteria or fungus may cause a sinus infection.
Other conditions are allergies, nasal polyps, and tooth infections these issues cause pain and all these symptoms.
Acute Sinusitis: only lasts for a short duration, these infections are usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness.
Chronic sinus infection
Chronic sinus infection lasts for more than twelve weeks or continues to recover. Specialists agree that the main criteria for sinusitis include facial pain, infected nasal discharge, and congestion.
Many sinus infection symptoms are common to both acute and chronic forms. Seeing your doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection to find the cause and get treated.
Harsh pressure and swelling in our sinuses can give symptoms of a headache. Sinus pain can also give earaches, dental pain and pain in our jaw and cheeks.
Sinus headaches are often at their worst after waking up in the morning because fluids have been collected all night long. Our headache can also get worsen when the peri-metric pressure of the environment changes suddenly.
For example inflammation and swelling cause our sinuses to ache with a dull pressure. Therefore we feel pain in our forehead on either side of our nose, in our upper jaws and teeth, or between our eyes. Lastly, this may lead to a headache.
Nasal discharge and congestion
When we have a sinus infection nasal discharge develops. Generally, it could be cloudy, green, or yellow. So then this discharge comes from our infected sinuses and drains into our nasal passages.
The discharge may also bypass our nose and drains down back of our throat. Usually, this may feel like a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.
Particularly as postnasal drip, it causes cough at night, while lying down to sleep, and in the morning after getting up. It may also cause our voice to sound hoarse.
Sinus congestion causes blocking respiration. Afterwards swelling in the sinus makes our voice stuffy.
Antibiotics are very effective in treating sinusitis and bacterial sinus infection. In short, they attack the bacteria and wipe them off.
Some other treatment includes nasal decongestant sprays which help in clearing up the blockage of the air cavities. Thus they shrink the nasal passages.
Hence if our symptoms continue we may need to undergo a CT scan along with mucus culture and biopsies. Treatment may also require surgery.
What are the side effects if not treated
Although sinusitis treatment does not have any side effects. In particular, people can develop meningitis an infection of the meninges that cover the brain and spinal cord.
Additionally, other internal areas of the sinus can also become infected and develop problems. To summarize these are all life-threatening disease and can occur in a person with a suppressed immune system.
Likewise, there are no clear-cut post-treatment guidelines for sinusitis treatment as it includes mainly antibiotics and nasal sprays and decongestants. However, there are ways to prevent sinusitis.
Prevention of sinusitis
Lastly avoiding things that irritate our nose and sinuses can help to decrease sinusitis.
As a rule, washing our hands frequently especially during cold and flu season can prevent our sinuses from becoming irritated or infected with viruses or bacteria in our hands.
Generally, with acute sinusitis, recovery can range from eight days to two weeks. But if we have chronic sinusitis caused by fungal infection than the symptoms can take more than three weeks to go away. Even then it may come back again.
Treatment and cost
Most often sinusitis clears up on its own but sometimes you may need antibiotics and nasal sprays permanently. However, if we have chronic sinusitis it may come back even after having medical treatment.
Doctor’s consultation and medicinal charges may not be too expensive but surgery may be quite expensive.
Alternatives to the treatment
Besides, there are numerous home remedies for sinusitis. Some of them include- nasal irrigation which means rinsing and clearing the nasal passages with saltwater or saline solution. Generally, warm compresses help in the relief of swelling and pain on our face. Steam inhalation can be taken by placing a bowl of water in front and mixing a few drops of menthol or eucalyptus oil to unblock the sinuses. Also having spicy food or a hot bowl of soup helps in clearing up of the sinuses. Drinking hot drinks may also give relief.