The term ‘sinuses’ refers to the paranasal sinuses, which are air-filled cavities lined by the mucous membrane. They are located in and around the nose. The basic function of these sinuses is to moisten the nasal cavity, and warm inhaled air. Infection and inflammation of the paranasal sinuses is termed as sinusitis. It is classified as infectious and non-infectious. The former is caused by infection of the sinuses, whereas allergies and environmental irritants cause non-infectious sinusitis.
Causes of sinus infection
Sinus infection may occur due to infection by bacteria, virus, or fungi in the paranasal sinuses. Of these, bacterial and viral infections are responsible for maximum cases of sinus inflammation. Patients having common cold often report sinusitis symptoms.
Potential triggers of this discomforting condition are air pollutants, chemical irritants, other allergens, extreme climatic conditions, stress, dehydration, and excess smoking. Any form of allergy that negatively affects the functioning of the immune system may lead to swelling and inflammation of the sinuses. People having a weak immune system and those who have suffered an injury of the nasal bones are more prone to sinusitis than others. Knowing sinusitis causes and triggers will help in preventing this annoying condition.
The symptoms of short-term infection differ slightly from the chronic one. The warning signs depend on the type of sinus that is affected. Swelling of the paranasal sinuses causes excess secretion of mucus, which blocks the nasal passages. This results in congestion, stuffiness, and other symptoms. Following are some of the common signs and symptoms of sinus infection which can be observed in acute and chronic conditions.
Acute Sinusitis Symptoms
Chronic Sinusitis Symptoms
- Nasal congestion
- Thick, yellow or greenish nasal discharge
- Sinus pain or facial pain
- Sinus pressure or facial pressure
- Mild to severe headache
- Postnasal drip
- Running high temperature
- Vision disturbances
- Loss of smell
- Cough or congestion
- Tender cheekbone
- Pain gets worse when lying down or bending forward
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Chronic postnasal drip
- Pus in the nasal cavity
- Loss of smell and taste
- Cough that worsens at night
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Low-grade headache
- Pressure below eye
- Toothache or chronic tooth sensitivity
- Sinus pressure
Sinus infection should be treated as early as possible as there are chances that acute sinusitis may lead to sub-acute or chronic conditions. The main objective of sinusitis treatment is to cure the infection and relieve the nasal congestion.
- For a patient of acute sinusitis, antibiotic therapy is recommended.
- One can also make use of decongestants to clear the nasal passages.
- An ear-nose-throat doctor may recommend adjunctive treatments, such as taking antihistamines and corticosteroids.
In order to get rid of a sinus infection, most people prefer to follow home remedies. Some of the most common home remedies are as follows:
- Inhaling steam twice or thrice a day may help a lot.
- Drinking lots of fluids, hot herbal tea or even just water may be very helpful.
- A hot shower is an age-old remedy for sinusitis.
Though medications are effectual for treatment of sinus infection
, there are several cases of recurrent sinusitis after completion of the treatment course. So, care should be taken to avoid the triggers. Remember to visit a nearby ENT specialist
in case the infection worsens.