Sinus can be explained as a hollow, air-filled cavity located in the skull, connected to the nasal airway ostium, a narrow hole in the bone. There are four pairs of sinuses namely frontal sinus in the low-center of the forehead, maxillary sinus behind the cheeks, ethmoid sinus between the eyes and sphenoid sinus deep behind the ethmoids. These four pairs of sinuses are collectively termed as paranasal sinuses. Sinusitis can be explained as an inflammation or swelling of the tissues present at the lining of the sinuses. Normally, sinuses are air-filled cavities. But, when they are blocked and fluid-filled, there may be growth of micro-organisms like bacteria, fungi and viruses, leading to infection. Sinus blockage may be due to common cold, nasal polyps, allergic rhinitis and deviated septum. Various types of sinusitis include acute sinusitis, subacute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis and recurrent sinusitis.
Causes of Sinusitis
One of the most common causes of sinusitis is viral infection. It may result from cold or flu virus that may spread from the upper airways to the sinuses. There may develop a secondary bacterial infection following cold or flu. It may cause inflammation of the membranes lining the inside of the sinuses. In some cases, an infected tooth may cause sinusitis. The micro-organisms like bacteria, fungi and viruses may cause sinus infections. These pathogens may grow within the sinus and may block the sinus ostium.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
The typical signs and symptoms of sinusitis include sinus headache, pressure or pain in the sinuses, facial tenderness, cloudy discolored drainage, feeling of nasal stuffiness, fever, cough and sore throat. Some may experience facial swelling. The initial symptoms include yellow or green mucus discharge from the nose and severe facial pain around the cheeks, forehead and eyes. This kind of infection is mild and usually lasts for 12 weeks. If the sinus infection lasts for more than 12 weeks, then the condition is known as chronic sinusitis. It is characterized by the symptoms like blocked nose, runny nose, facial pain, sinus headache and bad breath.
Treatment for Sinusitis
In most cases, sinusitis is because of a viral infection, which may clear up on its own. In case of mild sinusitis, over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen can be taken to relieve high temperature, headache and facial pain. Ibuprofen is not recommended for the people with stomach ulcers, asthma and heart failure. Decongestant medications like nasal drops or sprays can be used to relieve symptoms. In case of chronic or severe sinusitis, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics and steroid sprays or drops. If these treatment options are not working, then surgery like functional endoscopic sinus surgery is recommended to remove nasal polyps or to open obstructions.
Home Remedies for Sinusitis
Along with these conventional treatment options, you may try some simple home remedies to get early relief. Home remedies include self-care measures and lifestyle changes.
- The first important thing you should do is to take enough rest. This can help your body fight inflammation and accelerate recovery. Sleep by placing your head in elevated position. This may help drain the sinuses and reduce congestion.
- You need to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids such as water or juices. This may cause dilution of mucous secretions and improve drainage. However, you should avoid the drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine, as they may cause dehydration. Alcohol consumption may worsen swelling of lining of the nose and sinuses.
- Another important thing is to moisturize the sinus cavities. You can take hot water steam or take a hot shower. This may help reduce pain and promote mucous drain. You may apply warm compresses by placing a warm, damp towel around your nose, eyes and cheeks. This may help ease facial pain or tenderness.
- Since allergies can worsen the sinus pain, make sure that your bedroom is free from allergens like molds.
- Consume more of spicy foods such as hot peppers, mustard, wasabi, horseradish and curry, as they may help open nasal passage and clear sinuses.
- Turmeric root is one of the wonderful spices, which contains natural anti-inflammatory curcumin. When taken in combination with ginger root, it can help loosen mucous in the blocked nasal passages.
- Apple cider vinegar is yet another effective home remedy for sinusitis. It can be taken with a cup of hot water or tea three times a day. This can help thinning of excessive mucous and relieve congestion and sinus pressure.