Sinusitis is an inflammation of Para Nasal Sinuses, the air chambers located in the bone behind your cheeks, eyebrows and jaw. They produce mucus, a fluid that eliminates bacteria and other particles out of the air you breathe. Tiny hairs termed as cilia remove mucus out of your sinuses so that it can drain out through your nose. These cavities, situated within the skull or bones of the head around the nose, include the followings:
Frontal sinuses (over the eyes in the brow area)
Maxillary sinuses (inside each cheekbone)
Ethmoid sinuses (right behind the bridge of the nose and between the eyes)
Sphenoid sinuses (behind the ethmoids in the upper region of the nose and behind the eyes)
What causes sinusitis?
Anything that results in swelling in your sinuses or restricts the cilia from moving mucus can cause sinusitis. This can take place because of changes in temperature or air pressure. Allergies can also cause sinusitis. Using decongestant nasal sprays too much, smoking, swimming or diving can also heighten your risk of getting sinusitis. Some people experience growths called polyps that obstruct the sinus passages and cause sinusitis.
In the case of bacterial or viral infection, you get a sinus infection. Sinus infections sometimes arise after you’ve had a cold. The cold virus affects the lining of your sinuses, urging them to swell and become narrow. Your body responds to the virus by producing more mucus, but it gets clogged in your swollen sinuses. This mucus is a good place for bacteria to thrive well and these bacteria can cause a sinus infection.
Each sinus opens into the nose for the free exchange of air and mucus, and each is joined with the nasal passages by a continuous mucous membrane lining. Therefore, anything that causes a swelling in the nose. An infection, an allergic reaction, or an immune reaction can also tell upon the sinuses. Air trapped within a blocked sinus, along with pus or other secretions may put pressure on the sinus wall. It sometimes causes intense pain of a sinus attack. Likewise, when air is restricted from entering a Para nasal sinus by a swollen membrane at the opening, a vacuum is created causing pain.
What are the symptoms of sinusitis?
The symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Pain or pressure in the forehead, cheeks, nose and between the eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
- Cough, which may be worse at night
- Bad breath (called halitosis)
- Ache in the teeth
Diagnosis of chronic sinusitis
Initially an X-ray is done to detect Para nasal sinuses. Vagueness or opacities in the area of the infected sinus is often noticed. Sometimes a CT scan may be recommended for verification. The discharge from the sinus is delivered for culture and the organism isolated, and appropriate antibiotics may be prescribed. Sometimes transillumination of the sinus involved may be useful. The affected sinus produces a dark shadow unlike normal sinus, which produces a light shadow. Tests to detect the presence of infection and ESR may be done to collect strong evidence. Fungal scrapings and smears may be collected from the discharge and fungal cultures should be performed if a fungal aetiology is suspected.
Treatment for sinusitis depends on the cause behind the ailment.
You can use a saline nasal spray to clean your nasal passages and help clear jamming. Your doctor may prescribe a useful nasal spray that helps treat inflammation.
If you feel sinus pain or pressure, your doctor may prescribe a decongestant to facilitate your sinuses drain. Decongestants are generally recommended only for temporary use.
Over-the-counter pain relievers for instance acetaminophen and ibuprofen can relieve headache and sinus pain.
If you have acute sinusitis and your doctor considers it to be bacterial, he or she may prescribe an antibiotic for 10 to 14 days. You will generally start feeling better within a couple of days after you start taking it. It is important to take antibiotics according to your doctor’s instruction and continue taking it until it is completely gone, even after you’re feeling better.
If your sinusitis is caused by your allergies, your doctor may first prefer to treat the allergy. Then the sinusitis will usually clear up automatically.
Surgical treatment covers puncturing the sinus and making a window in it to ease unhindered drainage. Other procedures include the Caldwell-Luc procedure to treat chronic maxillary sinusitis and ethmoidectomy for ethmoid or sphenoid sinusitis. The diagnosis is often quite good and depends upon the sinuses involved and the extent of the infection. Most patients experiencing acute sinusitis of a short while usually recover with appropriate early therapy. However chronic sinusitis can be troublesome and even after drainage patients may be show symptoms. Some patients may need major surgical techniques for cure.
Self-help in relieving symptoms of sinusitis
Steam inhalation can alleviate inflamed sinus cavities.
Gentle heat applied over the inflamed area is soothing.
Take plenty of rest. Lying down can make your sinuses feel more stopped-up, so lie on the side that to breathe the best. You can support yourself up with a pillow.
Sip hot liquids and consume plenty of fluids.
Apply moist heat by applying a warm, wet towel on your face or breathing in steam through a cloth or towel. This will reduce sinus pressure opening your sinus passages.
Consult your doctor before using an over-the-counter cold medicine because some cold medicines can worsen your symptoms or result in other problems.
Don’t use a nasal spray with a decongestant in it for more than 3 days because the swelling in your sinuses may get worse when you stop taking the medicine.
Avoid alcohol. It can worsen swelling in the sinuses.