What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is a condition which describes inflammation of the lining of the sinus passages caused by bacteria. Your sinuses refers to the air chambers in the bone behind your eyebrows, cheeks and jaw. Normally, mucous cleans the bacteria and other particles that collects in the sinuses. With the help of tiny hairs called cilia, mucous is moved out of sinuses so that it can drain into the nasal passages. However, when you have a cold or allergy attack, your sinuses become inflamed or infected and drainage cannot occur.
There are two types of sinusitis – acute bacterial sinusitis and chronic sinusitis. Acute bacterial sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses caused by bacteria and usually starts with a cold, allergy attack or as a result of environmental irritants. Chronic sinusitis is characterized by frequent bouts of sinusitis which lasts for three months or more.
More than 30 million people in the United States experience sinusitis each year. It affects all age groups, although certain groups are more prone to the condition. These groups include people who suffer from allergies, asthma, have a weak immune system, nose injury, are born with narrow nasal openings or smoke.
If left untreated, sinusitis can become serious and lead to eye infections or meningitis This spread of infection is very rare, as there are a number treatment options available to manage and control sinusitis.
Symptoms and signs
The most common symptoms and signs of sinusitis include:
- Pain or pressure in the forehead, eyes or cheeks
- Post nasal drip
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Aching in the upper teeth
- Sore throat
- A cold that seems to get better, then worsens
The diagnosis of sinusitis is based on your physical symptoms, examination and medical history. Sometimes, a CT scan may be ordered for a more accurate diagnosis. In more extreme cases, your doctor may refer you to a specialist in nasal disorders called an otolaryngologist.
What Causes Sinusitis?
Sinusitis occurs as result of swelling in the sinus passages or if anything prevents the cilia from moving mucous. There are several factors that contribute to sinusitis developing and these include:
- Bacterial or viral infection, especially after you have a cold
- Allergy attack
- Changes in temperature
- Air pressure
- Chemical fumes
- Swimming or diving
- Excessive use of decongestant nasal sprays
Help for Sinusitis
Various treatment options can help to relieve symptoms of pain and inflammation in the sinuses and nose and speed recovery. If a sinusitis flare-up occurs, over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen can help for pain and a saline solution to rinse your sinus passages.
Your health practitioner may prescribe antibiotics or a decongestant – it is very important take the full course of antibiotics administered and not to use the decongestant for more than three days as this may worsen the swelling in your sinuses. Drinking plenty of fluids and applying a warm, moist towel to your face or inhaling steam can also open up your sinus passages. However, if nasal obstructed cannot be corrected by medications, surgery may be recommended.
Natural and holistic treatments have been used for centuries to reduce the symptoms of sinusitis. Very often conventional medications have harsh side effects and using more natural alternatives like herbal and homeopathic remedies are much safer and gentler for the body.
A highly effective herb is Quercitin which contains anti-oxidants and helps to promote healthy circulation and boosts immunity. Another carefully selected herb is Euphrasia officinalis (Eyebright) which is beneficial for good eye health. In addition, homeopathic ingredients such as Arsen alb, Nat. mur. and Kali mur. help to maintain the skin and nervous system as well as liver health.
More Information on Sinusitis
Tips to cope with sinusitis
There are a number of things that you can do to minimize episodes of sinusitis and they include:
- Eat a healthy, well balanced diet that contains plenty of vegetables and fruit to boost the immune system
- Drink lots of water which prevents congestion, drains the mucous and increases moisture in the body
- Avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or cola, as they cause dehydration
- Drink honey and lemon in hot water
- Practice good hygiene habits by washing hands thoroughly with water and soap
- Avoid contact with people who have colds and flu
- Use a humidifier in your home to moisten the air
- Install air conditioners to stabilize the temperature
- Attach filters to heaters and air conditioners to remove allergens from the air
- Avoid cigarette smoke and other air pollutants which aggravates the sinus lining
- Reduce your intake of alcohol as this causes the nasal membranes to swell
- Inhale steam by leaning over a bowl of hot water for a few minutes to loosen mucous and moisten the throat
- Avoid swimming in chlorine treated pools and steer clear of diving as it causes sinus infections