The moist hollow air spaces in the bones of the face around the nose are called sinuses. Normally these are filled with air, which makes the facial bones light weight and less dense. When one has nasal congestion (stuffiness) due to common cold or allergies these sinuses are unable to drain properly, and they get filled with fluid. This causes germs like bacteria, viruses, and fungi, to get trapped inside the sinuses, leading to sinusitis, which is a medical term for inflammation of the sinuses due to some infection.
Sinusitis can be caused due to viruses, bacteria or a combination of both. Bacterial sinusitis is usually accompanied with more facial swelling and pain and may also be accompanied with fever.
There are different types of sinusitis, including:
ยท Acute sinusitis: A sudden onset of cold-like symptoms and facial pain that does not go away. This type typically lasts 4 weeks or less.
ยท Subacute sinusitis: An inflammation lasting 4 to 8 weeks.
ยท Chronic sinusitis: Inflammation symptoms lasting 8 weeks or longer.
ยท Recurrent sinusitis: Several attacks within a year.
ยท Fungi: Inhaled microscopic fungi affect your immune system and aggravate sinuses.
ยท Bacteria: Blocked sinus openings create an ideal environment for bacterial growth preventing the cilia from functioning properly, causing the mucus membrane to swell.
ยท Allergens: Air-borne particles, pet dander and certain food items can aggravate sinuses.
ยท Viruses: A viral infection can destroy or paralyze cilia, causing mucus to build up.
ยท Immune system problems: Immune deficiency can prevent cilia from functioning normally.
ยท Structural problems: A deviated septum or very narrow sinus opening can make it difficult to when the mucus membranes swell.
ยท Colds and Flu
ยท Smoke, Dust and other air pollutants
Young Children and Sinusitis
Though true sinusitis is very rare in children under the age of nine years, all infants are susceptible to respiratory infections as their immune system is not mature. Young children, therefore, may have 8-12 bouts of cold every year. Some doctors believe that sinusitis is greatly over-diagnosed in this population.
The Elderly and Sinusitis
For a lot of people their nasal passages tend to dry out with age and the cartilage supporting the nasal passages also weakens, causing airflow changes.
ยท People with Head injuries
ยท Conditions requiring insertion of tubes through the nose
ยท Breathing aided by mechanical ventilators
Other Medical Conditions Affecting the Sinuses
ยท Nasal polyps
ยท AIDS and other disorders of the immune system
ยท Oral or intravenous steroid treatment
ยท Cystic fibrosis
ยท Kartagener's syndrome
Miscellaneous Risk Factors
ยท Dental Problems
ยท Changes in Atmospheric Pressure
ยท Cigarette Smoke and Other Air Pollutants
Some of the signs that someone may have bacterial sinusitis are:
ยท Stuffy or runny nose with a daytime cough that lasts more than 10 to 14 days without improvement
ยท Mucus discharge from the nose
ยท Persistent dull pain or swelling around the eyes
ยท Facial pain/pressure
ยท A feeling of pressure in your head
ยท Headaches when you wake up or when you bend down
ยท a fever greater than 102ยฐ F (39ยฐ C)
Less common symptoms of sinusitis (acute or chronic) can include the following:
ยท Decreased sense of smell
ยท Cough that may be worse at night
ยท Sore throat
ยท Bad breath
ยท Dental pain
Symptoms in children include:
ยท Cold or respiratory illness that improves and then starts getting worse
ยท High fever, with a darkened nasal discharge, for at least 3 days
ยท Nasal discharge, with or without a cough, that has been present for more than 10 days and is not improving
Although very rare, complications may include:
ยท Bone infection (osteomyelitis)
ยท Skin infection around the eye (orbital cellulitis)
ยท Infection of the Eye Socket
ยท Blood Clot
ยท Brain Infection
ยท Increased Asthma Severity
ยท Effects on Quality of Life
ยท Asthma flare-ups
There are no scientifically proven methods to prevent acute or chronic sinusitis. The following actions may help to reduce your risk of sinusitis:
ยท Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants to boost your immune system
ยท Drink plenty of fluids to increase moisture in your body
ยท Good Hygiene and Preventing Transmission
ยท Get an influenza vaccine each year
ยท Manage stress
ยท Use Nasal Decongestant Spray
ยท Stop Smoking
ยท Filter and Humidify the Air
ยท Treat Your Allergies
ยท Discuss Sinus Surgery
Modern Treatment Options
The goals of treating sinusitis include:
ยท Relieving your discomfort
ยท Reduce sinus inflammation
ยท Keep your nasal passages draining
ยท Opening up your nasal passages
ยท Curing the infection
ยท Eliminate the underlying cause
ยท Reduce the number of sinusitis flare-ups you have
ยท Preventing complications
ยท Preventing recurrence
Specific Antibiotics Used for Sinusitis
ยท Amoxicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin)
ยท Fluoroquinolones (Quinolones)
Corticosteroids for Chronic Sinusitis
Nasal-spray corticosteroids, most commonly called steroids, are effective drugs for treating allergic rhinitis. They also help in the treatment of chronic sinusitis and are sometimes used for acute sinusitis.
Antifungals for Chronic Sinusitis
Scientists are investigating whether antifungal drugs may help treat chronic sinusitis. One such drug, Amphotericin B (SinuNase), is currently in Phase III trials for patients who have had sinus surgery but are still experiencing recurrent sinusitis.
When medicine fails, surgery may be the only alternative to enlarge the natural openings of the sinuses, remove nasal polyps and correct significant structural problems inside the nose. Procedures include:
ยท Insertion of a Drainage Tube
ยท Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
ยท Balloon Sinuplasty
ยท Invasive Conventional Surgery
ยท Allergy shots (immunotherapy) to help prevent the disease from returning
ยท Avoiding allergy triggers
ยท Nasal corticosteroid sprays and antihistamines to decrease swelling, especially if there are nasal polyps or allergies
Side effects of modern treatment options
Side Effects of Antibiotics:
ยท Gastrointestinal distress
ยท Antibiotics double the risk for vaginal infections in women
ยท Allergic reactions
Side Effects of Corticosteroids:
ยท Dryness, burning, stinging in the nasal passage
ยท Headaches and nosebleed
Alternative Treatment Options
ยท Allium cepa
ยท Kali bichromicum
Alternating hot and cold baths or compresses can be beneficial
ยท Vitamins B6 and C
ยท Avoid dairy products and food allergens
ยท Astragalus root
ยท Cajeput Oil
ยท Cayenne Pepper
ยท Oregon grape root
ยท Basil Ocimum basilicum Bay (Laurus nobilis)
ยท Cajeput (Melaleuka leukadendron)
ยท Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata)
ยท Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
ยท Helichrysum or Immortelle (Helichrysum agusifolium)
ยท Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
ยท Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
ยท Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Here are some home remedies to consider when symptoms become too much to bear:
1. Make sure to get plenty of rest
2. Lots of Liquids: Drink decent amount of liquids, like juices and water.
3. Avoid caffeinated beverages, which can cause a dehydrating effect.
4. Avoid Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages can worsen your symptoms
5. Oregano has a great deal of antiseptic value. Drinking tea containing the herb can serve as a sinus infection treatment.
6. Treat your sinus cavities to a steam bath by draping a towel over your head and breathing in the steam from a bowl of boiling water.
7. When taking a hot shower, breathe in the warm, moist air
8. Sleep with you head elevated
9. The extremely strong flavor and taste of horseradish and wasabi are known to open up and clear out the sinuses.
10. Include pungent foods like onion and garlic in your daily diet.
11. Boil a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in a cup of water and drink when warm. Fenugreek leaves have long been valued as a cure for sinusitis.
12. Tie a teaspoon of black cumin seeds in a thin cotton cloth in a pan of hot water and inhale.
13. Heat a pan of water, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil and inhale.
14. Eat a paste of tulsi leaves (Ocimum sanctum) and honey early in the morning.
15. Put few drops of eucalyptus oil on your handkerchief and sniff periodically.
16. Blow one nostril at a time. This will help prevent pressure build-up in the ears, which can send bacteria further back into the sinus passages.
17. Apply warm wash cloth over your eyes and cheekbones. Leave it till you feel the sinus pain subsiding.
18. Carrot and spinach juice taken regularly is also found to be highly beneficial.
ยท Surya Namaskara
ยท Kapal bhati pranayama
ยท Nadi shodhan pranayama
ยท Suryabhedi pranayama
ยท Bhastrika pranayama
ยท Drinking plenty of fluids
ยท Inhaling steam 2 - 4 times a day is extremely helpful
ยท Nasal Wash
ยท Neti pots